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Front Neuroanat. 2017 May 23;11:44. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2017.00044. eCollection 2017.

Activity Dependent Modulation of Granule Cell Survival in the Accessory Olfactory Bulb at Puberty.

Author information

1
Center for Neuroscience Research, Children's National Health System, WashingtonDC, United States.
2
Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri Ottolenghi, University of TorinoOrbassano, Italy.
3
Department of Neurosciences "Rita Levi Montalcini", University of TurinTurin, Italy.
4
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, BaltimoreMD, United States.
5
Research Center for Genetic Medicine, Children's National Health System, WashingtonDC, United States.

Abstract

The vomeronasal system (VNS) is specialized in the detection of salient chemical cues triggering social and neuroendocrine responses. Such responses are not always stereotyped, instead, they vary depending on age, sex, and reproductive state, yet the mechanisms underlying this variability are unclear. Here, by analyzing neuronal survival in the first processing nucleus of the VNS, namely the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB), through multiple bromodeoxyuridine birthdating protocols, we show that exposure of female mice to male soiled bedding material affects the integration of newborn granule interneurons mainly after puberty. This effect is induced by urine compounds produced by mature males, as bedding soiled by younger males was ineffective. The granule cell increase induced by mature male odor exposure is not prevented by pre-pubertal ovariectomy, indicating a lesser role of circulating estrogens in this plasticity. Interestingly, the intake of adult male urine-derived cues by the female vomeronasal organ increases during puberty, suggesting a direct correlation between sensory activity and AOB neuronal plasticity. Thus, as odor exposure increases the responses of newly born cells to the experienced stimuli, the addition of new GABAergic inhibitory cells to the AOB might contribute to the shaping of vomeronasal processing of male cues after puberty. Consistently, only after puberty, female mice are capable to discriminate individual male odors through the VNS.

KEYWORDS:

neurogenesis; puberty; sensory adaptation; sexual signals; vomeronasal system

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