Major histocompatibility class I (MHCI) molecules are well known for their immunological role in mediating tissue graft rejection. Recently, these molecules were discovered to be expressed in distinct neuronal subclasses, dispelling the long-held tenet that the uninjured brain is immune-privileged. Here, we show that MHCI molecules are expressed in the main olfactory bulb (MOB) of adult animals. Furthermore, we find that mice with diminished levels of MHCI expression have enlarged MOBs containing an increased number of small, morphologically abnormal and ectopically located P2 glomeruli. These findings suggest that MHCI molecules may play an important role in the proper formation of glomeruli in the bulb.
Keywords: P2 glomerulus; main histocompatibility complex I; main olfactory bulb; major histocompatibility class I molecules; olfaction.