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J Mol Neurosci. 1992;3(3):137-46.

Continuous culture of neuronal cells from adult human olfactory epithelium.

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  • 1Laboratory of Clinical Science, NIMH, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Cells from the olfactory epithelium of adult human cadavers have been propagated in primary culture and subsequently cloned. These cells exhibit neuronal properties including: neuron-specific enolase, olfactory marker protein, neurofilaments, and growth-associated protein 43. Simultaneously, the cells exhibit nonneuronal properties such as glial fibrillary acidic protein and keratin, the latter suggesting properties of neuroblasts or stem cells. These clonal cultures contain 5-10% of cells sufficiently differentiated to show odorant-dependent cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) or calcium-release responses when challenged with submicromolar concentrations of odorants. The potential of culturing neuronal cells from patients with neuropsychiatric disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia, could enable the study of the pathophysiology of these neurons in the culture dish and allow new approaches to the study of mental illness.

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