Cell cycle of globose basal cells in rat olfactory epithelium

Dev Dyn. 1995 May;203(1):17-26. doi: 10.1002/aja.1002030103.


The olfactory epithelium of adult mammals has the unique property of generating olfactory sensory neurons throughout life. Cells of the basal compartment, which include horizontal and globose basal cells, are responsible for the ongoing process of neurogenesis in this system. We report here that the globose basal cells in olfactory epithelium of rats, as in mice, are the predominant type of proliferating cell, and account for 97.6% of the actively dividing cells in the basal compartment of the normal epithelium. Globose basal cells have not been fully characterized in terms of their proliferative properties, and the dynamic aspects of neurogenesis are not well understood. As a consequence, it is uncertain whether cell kinetic properties are under any regulation that could affect the rate of neurogenesis. To address this gap in our knowledge, we have determined the duration of both the synthesis phase (S-phase) and the full cell cycle of globose basal cells in adult rats. The duration of the S-phase was found to be 9 hr in experiments utilizing sequential injections of either IdU followed by BrdU or 3H-thy followed by BrdU. The duration of the cell cycle was determined by varying the time interval between the injections of 3H-thy and BrdU and tracking the set of cells that exit S shortly after the first injection. With this paradigm, the interval required for these cells to traverse G2, M, G1, and a second S-phase, is equivalent to the duration of one mitotic cycle and equals 17 hr. These observations serve as the foundation to assess whether the cell cycle duration is subject to regulation in response to experimental injury, and whether such regulation is partly responsible for changes in the rate of neurogenesis in such settings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Division
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Idoxuridine / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Olfactory Mucosa / cytology*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / innervation
  • Olfactory Mucosa / metabolism
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / cytology
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Thymidine / metabolism
  • Tritium


  • Tritium
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Idoxuridine
  • Thymidine