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J Comp Neurol. 2003 Sep 22;464(3):257-68.

Organization of glomeruli in the main olfactory bulb of Xenopus laevis tadpoles.

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Department of Molecular Neurophysiology, University of Göttingen, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.


Structural and functional investigations were carried out to study olfactory glomeruli in the main olfactory bulb (OB) in tadpoles of the clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. Calcium imaging of odor response patterns of OB neurons revealed that the synapses within the glomeruli are functional. Tracing axons of individual olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs), dendrites of mitral/tufted (M/T) cells and processes of periglomerular interneurons indicate that the glomerular architecture is solely determined by terminal branches of ORN axons and tufts of M/T primary dendrites. The small population of periglomerular neurons forms wide-field arborizations that always extend over many glomeruli, enter the glomeruli, but lack any glomerular tufts. Antibodies to synaptophysin indicate a high density of synapses within glomeruli, which was further confirmed at the ultrastructural level and quantified to approximately 0.5 synaptic sites per microm(2). Combining immunocytochemistry and ultrastructural investigations, we show that glomeruli in Xenopus laevis tadpoles lack any cellular borders. Glomeruli are surrounded neither by periglomerular somata nor by glial processes. Taken together, our results demonstrate that olfactory glomeruli in Xenopus laevis tadpoles (1) are fully functional, (2) are spheroidal neuropil aggregations of terminal tufts of ORNs and tufts of primary dendrites of M/T cells, and (3) are not enwrapped by a border formed by juxtaglomerular cells.

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