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J Neurosci. 1991 Nov;11(11):3556-64.

Characterization of potential precursor populations in the mouse olfactory epithelium using immunocytochemistry and autoradiography.

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Neuroscience Program, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02111.


There are at least two basal cell populations in the olfactory epithelium that could give rise to olfactory neurons during development, in the normal adult, and after experimentally induced receptor cell death. These populations have been subdivided as horizontal (HBC) and globose (GBC) basal cells on the basis of morphological criteria and by staining with antibodies against cytokeratin. HBCs are positive for cytokeratin while GBCs are negative. We have studied which cell type is induced to divide during receptor cell regeneration stimulated by olfactory bulbectomy using a combination of immunocytochemistry and autoradiography. By examining which population increases its labeling index with 3H-thymidine (3H-TdR) at various times after bulbectomy, it is shown that there is an increase in 3H-TdR uptake in the cytokeratin-negative GBCs with no change in the cytokeratin-positive HBCs. This suggests that the GBCs are specifically induced to divide in response to cues that accompany receptor cell death, and it is thus concluded that these cells are among the precursors of new olfactory receptor neurons.

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