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Brain Res. 2003 Jul 11;977(2):157-68.

Neuronal nitric oxide synthase in the olfactory system of an adult teleost fish Oreochromis mossambicus.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nagpur University Campus, Nagpur 440 033, India.


The aim of the present study is to explore the distribution of nitric oxide synthase in the olfactory system of an adult teleost, Oreochromis mossambicus using neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) immunocytochemistry and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate diaphorase (NADPHd) histochemistry methods. Intense nNOS immunoreactivity was noticed in several olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs), in their axonal extensions over the olfactory nerve and in some basal cells of the olfactory epithelium. nNOS containing fascicles of the ORNs enter the bulb from its rostral pole, spread in the olfactory nerve layer in the periphery of the bulb and display massive innervation of the olfactory glomeruli. Unilateral ablation of the olfactory organ resulted in dramatic loss of nNOS immunoreactivity in the olfactory nerve layer of the ipsilateral bulb. In the olfactory bulb of intact fish, some granule cells showed intense immunoreactivity; dendrites arising from the granule cells could be traced to the glomerular layer. Of particular interest is the occurrence of nNOS immunoreactivity in the ganglion cells of the nervus terminalis. nNOS containing fibers were also encountered in the medial olfactory tracts as they extend to the telencephalon. The NADPHd staining generally coincides with that of nNOS suggesting that it may serve as a marker for nNOS in the olfactory system of this fish. However, mismatch was encountered in the case of mitral cells, while all are nNOS-negative, few were NADPHd positive. The present study for the first time revealed the occurrence of nNOS immunoreactivity in the ORNs of an adult vertebrate and suggests a role for nitric oxide in the transduction of odor stimuli, regeneration of olfactory epithelium and processing of olfactory signals.

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