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J Neurosci. 2001 Aug 15;21(16):6274-82.

Odor exposure causes central adaptation and morphological changes in selected olfactory glomeruli in Drosophila.

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  • 1Instituto Cajal, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Madrid E-28002, Spain.


In an attempt to correlate behavioral and neuronal changes, we examined the structural and functional effects of odor exposure in Drosophila. Young adult flies were exposed to a high concentration of the selected odor, usually benzaldehyde or isoamyl acetate, for 4 d and subsequently tested for their olfactory response to a variety of odorants and concentrations. The behavioral response showed specific adaptation to the exposed odor. By contrast, olfactory transduction, as measured in electroantennograms, remained normal. In vivo volume measurements were performed on olfactory glomeruli, the anatomical and functional units involved in odor processing. Pre-exposed flies exhibited volume reduction of certain glomeruli, in an odor-selective manner. Of a sample of eight glomeruli measured, dorsal medial (DM) 2 and ventral (V) were affected by benzaldehyde exposure, whereas DM6 was affected by isoamyl acetate. Estimation of the number of synapses indicates that volume reduction involves synapse loss that can reach 30% in the V glomerulus of flies adapted to benzaldehyde. Additional features of odorant-induced adaptation, including concentration dependence and perdurance, also show correlation, because both effects are elicited by high odor concentrations and are long-lasting (>1 week). Finally, the dunce mutant fails to develop behavioral adaptation as well as morphological changes in the olfactory glomeruli after exposure. These neural changes thus appear to require the cAMP signaling pathway.

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