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Neuroscience. 1988 Feb;24(2):567-78.

Immunocytochemical identification of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone-positive fibres and terminals in the olfactory system of the rat.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Physiologie Neurosensorielle, U.A. CNRS 180, Universit√© Claude Bernard, Villeurbanne, France.


Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone immunoreactivity was studied in the olfactory system of the rat in combination with acetylcholinesterase histochemistry. Neuronal perikarya containing luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone lie in the medial septal nucleus, the vertical limb of the diagonal band of Broca, the olfactory tubercule and the ganglionated plexus of the terminal nerve. Labelled fibres spread in the superficial layers of the main and accessory olfactory bulbs, some encompassing the strongly acetylcholinesterase-positive atypical glomeruli. Others are observed on the medial side of the bulb, running along the terminal nerve bundles and ganglia. These fibres join the vomeronasal nerve branches and proceed distally towards the nasal cavity. In the septal submucosa, immunoreactive fibres are partly associated with the terminal nerve network. Conspicuous endings filled with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone are observed on blood vessels of the olfactory mucosa. Such well-differentiated terminals might be the neurosecretory afferents of a new neurohemal area. Immunoreactive terminals are also observed around the excretory ducts of the anterior medial glands. We have failed to observe any labelled fibres in the olfactory and vomeronasal epithelia. The results of the present study are discussed with respect to possible functional interpretations. It is suggested that significant amounts of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone could be released in the submucosal capillaries in spite of the scarcity of immunoreactive fibres. Similar afferents could also modulate the secretory activity of some nasal glands. Synaptic events involving the neuropeptide might occur in the olfactory bulb, particularly in atypical glomerular areas previously characterized by their high acetylcholinesterase content. Finally, no anatomical support for a chemosensory function of fibres containing luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone has been brought out by our work.

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