Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Chem Senses. 2002 Mar;27(3):277-86.

Amino acid odorants stimulate microvillar sensory neurons.

Author information

  • 1University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Physiology, Salt Lake City, UT 84108-1297, USA.


The olfactory epithelium (OE) of zebrafish is populated with ciliated and microvillar olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs). Whether distinct classes of odorants specifically activate either of these unique populations of OSNs is unknown. Previously we demonstrated that zebrafish OSNs could be labeled in an activity-dependent fashion by amino acid but not bile acid odorants. To determine which sensory neuron type was stimulated by amino acid odorants, we labeled OSNs using the ion channel permeant probe agmatine (AGB) and analyzed its distribution with conventional light- and electron-microscope immunocytochemical techniques. Approximately 7% of the sensory epithelium was labeled by AGB exposure alone. Following stimulation with one of the eight amino acids tested, the proportion of labeled epithelium increased from 9% for histidine to 19% for alanine; amino acid stimulated increases in labeling of 2-12% over control labeling. Only histidine failed to stimulate a significant increase in the proportion of labeled OSNs compared to control preparations. Most amino acid sensitive OSNs were located superficially in the epithelium and immuno-electron microscopy demonstrated that the labeled OSNs were predominantly microvillar. Large numbers of nanogold particles (20-60 per 1.5 microm(2)) were associated with microvillar olfactory sensory neurons (MSNs), while few such particles (<15 per 1.5 microm(2)) were observed over ciliated olfactory sensory neurons (CSNs), supporting cells (SCs) and areas without tissue, such as the lumen above the OE. Collectively, these findings indicate that microvillar sensory neurons are capable of detecting amino acid odorants.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk