The effects of unilateral naris occlusion on gene expression profiles in mouse olfactory mucosa

J Mol Neurosci. 2012 Jul;47(3):604-18. doi: 10.1007/s12031-011-9690-4. Epub 2011 Dec 21.


Unilateral naris occlusion has been the method of choice for effecting stimulus deprivation in studies of olfactory plasticity. Early experiments emphasized the deleterious effects of this technique on the developing olfactory system while more recent studies have pointed to several apparently "compensatory" responses. However, the evidence for deprivation-induced compensatory processes in olfaction remains fragmentary. High-throughput methods such as microarray analysis can help fill the deficits in our understanding of naris occlusion as a mode of stimulus deprivation. Here we report for young adult mice the effects of early postnatal naris occlusion on the olfactory mucosal transcriptome using microarray analysis with RT-PCR confirmation. The transcripts of key genes involved in olfactory reception, transduction, and transmission were up-regulated in deprived-side olfactory mucosa, with opposite effects in non-deprived-side mucosa, compared to controls. Results support the hypothesis that odor environment triggers a previously unknown homeostatic control mechanism in olfactory receptor neurons designed to maximize information transfer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Nasal Cavity / growth & development
  • Nasal Cavity / physiology*
  • Nasal Obstruction / genetics*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Smell / genetics*
  • Transcriptome* / physiology
  • Up-Regulation / genetics