Changes in the serotonergic system and in brain-derived neurotrophic factor distribution in the main olfactory bulb of pcd mice before and after mitral cell loss

Neuroscience. 2012 Jan 10;201:20-33. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.11.025. Epub 2011 Nov 20.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / genetics
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Death / genetics
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Neurologic Mutants
  • Nerve Degeneration / genetics
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / metabolism*
  • Olfactory Bulb / pathology*
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology
  • Purkinje Cells / pathology*
  • Receptor, trkB / metabolism
  • Serine-Type D-Ala-D-Ala Carboxypeptidase / genetics
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Slc6a4 protein, mouse
  • Serotonin
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Receptor, trkB
  • Serine-Type D-Ala-D-Ala Carboxypeptidase
  • Agtpbp1 protein, mouse
  • GTP-Binding Proteins