The olfactory sensory neurons in the nasal cavity of the adult mouse are organized into a few regions that differ in their molecular properties, as several classes of genes show regional expression. Most renowned is the fact that expression of each of hundreds of different odorant receptor genes is limited to one such region, or zone, of the olfactory neuroepithelial sheet. Zone differences are in place at birth, as exemplified here by the expression of neuronal progenitor marker Foxg1. We herein describe that an adult pattern showing regional differences in neurogenesis develops during the first few weeks of postnatal life which, e.g., is reflected in the temporal and regional regulation of the neuronal progenitor marker Ascl1. The most dorsomedial zone shows significantly fewer cells in S-phase in the adult but not in newborn mice by two different measures. Moreover, we show that there are regional differences in the relative differentiation, cell survival, and thickness of the olfactory epithelium. These findings are compatible with the view that zones are inherently distinct and that such differences contribute to generate regional differences in cellular homeostasis that in turn may modulate the capacity of a region to adjust to extrinsic influence.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.