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Eur Biophys J. 2011 Nov;40(11):1247-58. doi: 10.1007/s00249-011-0748-6. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

A multimodal approach for tracing lateralisation along the olfactory pathway in the honeybee through electrophysiological recordings, morpho-functional imaging, and behavioural studies.

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Physics Department and Biotech Research Centre, University of Trento, Via Sommarive 14, 38050, Povo, TN, Italy.


Recent studies have revealed asymmetries between the left and right sides of the brain in invertebrate species. Here we present a review of a series of recent studies from our laboratories, aimed at tracing asymmetries at different stages along the honeybee's (Apis mellifera) olfactory pathway. These include estimates of the number of sensilla present on the two antennae, obtained by scanning electron microscopy, as well as electroantennography recordings of the left and right antennal responses to odorants. We describe investigative studies of the antennal lobes, where multi-photon microscopy was used to search for possible morphological asymmetries between the two brain sides. Moreover, we report on recently published results obtained by two-photon calcium imaging for functional mapping of the antennal lobe aimed at comparing patterns of activity evoked by different odours. Finally, possible links to the results of behavioural tests, measuring asymmetries in single-sided olfactory memory recall, are discussed.

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