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Cell Tissue Res. 1990 Feb;259(2):275-81.

Effects of reversible nare occlusion on the development of the olfactory epithelium in the rabbit nasal septum.

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Institut für Medizinische Psychologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Federal Republic of Germany.


To investigate environmental influences on the development of the olfactory epithelium, semi-thin sections were taken from the nasal septum of newborn and 30-day-old rabbits; the epithelial thickness and the number of olfactory knobs, supporting cells, dark basal cells, and receptor cells were compared. During normal development, a marked increase in epithelial thickness was found, largely because of an increase in the number of receptor cells. Whereas unilateral nare occlusion on day 1 resulted in 10% fewer receptor cells and 25% fewer knobs on the deprived side by day 30, nare occlusion either up to or after day 5 had little effect, and even temporary reopening from days 6-7 was sufficient to stimulate receptor-cell development on the occluded side. Although in these latter cases, a slight deprivation effect of 6% was still found in the number of receptor-cell nuclei, there was no longer a significant difference in the number of knobs between the open and closed sides. Thus, whereas exposure to the environment during the first days of life appears to be sufficient to stimulate sustained growth, the deprived epithelium may retain the capacity to respond to such cues beyond this time. However, as nare occlusion also had an effect on the respiratory epithelium and nasal lymphatic tissue, the nature of the cues stimulating receptor-cell development, whether olfactory or non-olfactory, is not yet clear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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