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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2003 Feb 16;140(2):277-86.

Neonatal focal denervation of the rat olfactory bulb alters cell structure and survival: a Golgi, Nissl and confocal study.

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Program in Neuroscience, 102 Gilmer Hall, Box 400400, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400, USA.


Contact between sensory axons and their targets is critical for the development and maintenance of normal neural circuits. Previous work indicates that the removal of afferent contact to the olfactory bulb affects bulb organization, neurophenotypic expression, and cell survival. The studies also suggested changes to the structure of individual cell types. The current work examines the effects of denervation on the morphology of mitral/tufted, periglomerular, and granule cells. Focal denervation drastically changed mitral/tufted cell structure but had only subtle effects on periglomerular and granule cells. Denervated mitral/tufted cells lacked apical tufts and, in most cases, a primary dendrite. In addition, the denervated cells had more secondary processes whose orientation with respect to the bulb surface was altered. Our results suggest that contact between olfactory axons and the bulb is necessary for cell maintenance and may be critical for the ability of mitral/tufted cells to achieve adult morphology.

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