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Eur J Neurosci. 2009 Feb;29(4):679-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06614.x. Epub 2009 Feb 6.

Integration and sensory experience-dependent survival of newly-generated neurons in the accessory olfactory bulb of female mice.

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Department of Animal and Human Biology, Via Accademia Albertina 13, Turin, Italy.


Newborn neurons generated by proliferative progenitors in the adult subventricular zone (SVZ) integrate into the olfactory bulb circuitry of mammals. Survival of these newly-formed cells is regulated by the olfactory input. The presence of new neurons in the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) has already been demonstrated in some mammalian species, albeit their neurochemical profile and functional integration into AOB circuits are still to be investigated. To unravel whether the mouse AOB represents a site of adult constitutive neurogenesis and whether this process can be modulated by extrinsic factors, we have used multiple in vivo approaches. These included fate mapping of bromodeoxyuridine-labelled cells, lineage tracing of SVZ-derived enhanced green fluorescent protein-positive engrafted cells and neurogenesis quantification in the AOB, in both sexes, as well as in females alone after exposure to male-soiled bedding or its derived volatiles. Here, we show that a subpopulation of SVZ-derived neuroblasts acquires proper neurochemical profiles of mature AOB interneurons. Moreover, 3D reconstruction of long-term survived engrafted neuroblasts in the AOB confirms these cells show features of fully integrated neurons. Finally, exposure to male-soiled bedding, but not to its volatile compounds, significantly increases the number of new neurons in the AOB, but not in the main olfactory bulb of female mice. These data show SVZ-derived neuroblasts differentiate into new functionally integrated neurons in the AOB of young and adult mice. Survival of these cells seems to be regulated by an experience-specific mechanism mediated by pheromones.

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