Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Dev Biol. 1988 Oct;129(2):516-31.

Expression of cell adhesion molecules in the olfactory system of the adult mouse: presence of the embryonic form of N-CAM.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg, Federal Republic of Germany.


The expression of the neural cell adhesion molecules N-CAM and L1 was investigated in the olfactory system of the mouse using immunocytochemical and immunochemical techniques. In the olfactory epithelium, globose basal cells and olfactory neurons were stained by the polyclonal N-CAM antibody reacting with all three components of N-CAM (N-CAM total) in their adult and embryonic states. Dark basal cells and supporting cells were not found positive for N-CAM total. The embryonic form of N-CAM (E-N-CAM) was only observed on the majority of globose basal cells, the precursor cells of olfactory neurons, and some neuronal elements, probably immature neurons, since they were localized adjacent to the basal cell layer. Differentiated neurons in the olfactory epithelium did not express E-N-CAM. In contrast to N-CAM total, the 180-kDa component of N-CAM (N-CAM180) and E-N-CAM, L1 was not detectable on cell bodies in the olfactory epithelium. L1 and N-CAM180 were strongly expressed on axons leaving the olfactory epithelium. Olfactory axons were also labeled by antibodies to N-CAM180 and L1 in the lamina propria and the nerve fiber and glomerular layers of the olfactory bulb, but only some axons showed a positive immunoreaction for E-N-CAM. Ensheathing cells in the olfactory nerve were observed to bear some labeling for N-CAM total, L1, and N-CAM180, but not E-N-CAM. In the olfactory bulb, L1 was not present on glial cells. In contrast, N-CAM180 was detectable on some glia and N-CAM total on virtually all glia. Glia in the nerve fiber layer were labeled by E-N-CAM antibody only at the external glial limiting membrane. In the glomerular layer, E-N-CAM expression was particularly pronounced at contacts between olfactory axons and target cells. The presence of E-N-CAM in the adult olfactory epithelium and bulb was confirmed by Western blot analysis. The continued presence of E-N-CAM in adulthood on neuronal precursor cells, a subpopulation of olfactory axons, glial cells at the glia limitans, and contacts between olfactory axons and their target cells indicates the retention of embryonic features in the mammalian olfactory system, which may underlie its remarkable regenerative capacity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk