The serotonergic centrifugal system innervating the main olfactory bulb (MOB) plays a key role in the modulation of olfactory processing. We have previously demonstrated that this system suffers adaptive changes under conditions of a lack of olfactory input. The present work examines the response of this centrifugal system after mitral cell loss in the Purkinje cell degeneration (pcd) mutant mice. The distribution and density of serotonergic centrifugal axons were studied in the MOB of control and pcd mice, both before and after the loss of mitral cells, using serotonin (5-HT) and 5-HT transporter immunohistochemistry. Studies of the amount of 5-HT and its metabolite, 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA), were performed by means of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and the relative amounts of brain-derived neurotrophin factor, BDNF, and its major receptor, tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB), were measured by Western blot. Our study revealed that the serotonergic system develops adaptive changes after, but not before, mitral cell loss. The lack of the main bulbar projection cells causes a decrease in the serotonergic input received by the MOB, whereas the number of serotonergic cells in the raphe nuclei remains constant. In addition, one of the molecules directly involved in serotonergic sprouting, the neurotrophin BDNF and its main receptor TrkB, underwent alterations in the MOBs of the pcd animals even before the loss of mitral cells. These data indicate that serotonergic function in the MOB is closely related to olfactory activity and that mitral cell loss induces serotonergic plastic responses.
Copyright © 2011 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.