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Chem Senses. 2001 Nov;26(9):1139-44.

Projection of sensory neurons with microvilli to the lateral olfactory tract indicates their participation in feeding behaviour in crucian carp.

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Division of General Physiology, Department of Biology, PO Box 1051, University of Oslo, N-0316 Oslo, Norway.


In the olfactory system of vertebrates, a large number of primary sensory neurons terminate in glomeruli in the olfactory bulb, where they make synapses with a significantly smaller number of secondary neurons. We applied small amounts of a lipophilic neural tracer (Dil) in the glomerular regions of the lateral olfactory bulb in crucian carp, and investigated the centrifugal migration of this stain through the secondary neurons towards the brain and peripherally to the sensory neurons of the olfactory epithelium. In preparations where only the secondary neurons of the lateral olfactory tract (LOT) were stained, the majority (76%) of sensory neurons had cell bodies in the intermediate layer of the olfactory epithelium. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that most of the sensory neurons with cell bodies in the intermediate layers of the olfactory epithelium feature microvilli. Based on observations that the secondary neurons of the LOT mediate feeding behaviour, we feel that there is strong evidence to indicate that the sensory neurons that exhibit microvilli are responsible for mediating the behavioural patterns related to feeding. These results are discussed in relation to physiological experiments on the properties of the sensory neurons and to studies of the innervation pattern of sensory neurons.

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