Olfactory experience modulated apoptosis in the developing olfactory bulb

Brain Res. 1995 Mar 20;674(2):245-51. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(94)01448-q.


Early sensory stimulation plays a key role in shaping the structure and function of the developing olfactory system. Here, we provide the first direct evidence for apoptotic cell death in the olfactory bulbs of rat pups during normal development and we also demonstrate that olfactory deprivation by unilateral naris occlusion causes a dramatic increase in apoptotic cell death in the glomerular and granule cell layers of the deprived bulb. The accessory olfactory bulbs displayed a remarkably high basal level of apoptosis but the occluded accessory bulb did not differ in that regard from the control accessory bulb. These results suggest that apoptosis may be an important mechanism by which the olfactory system can adjust its cell numbers in response in sensory stimuli experienced in early life, thereby underlying one form of plasticity in the developing olfactory system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Male
  • Nasal Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Olfactory Bulb / growth & development*
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology*
  • Smell / physiology*