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J Comp Neurol. 1996 Mar 4;366(2):197-206.

Expression and localization of FGF-1 in the developing rat olfactory system.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.


Primary olfactory axons project from the nasal olfactory neuroepithelium to glomeruli in the olfactory bulb where they synapse with mitral cells, the second-order olfactory neurons. We have shown that the heparin-binding growth factor FGF-1 is expressed by olfactory nerve ensheathing cells which surround fascicles of primary olfactory axons en route to the olfactory bulb. These cells are believed to modulate olfactory axon growth between the olfactory neuroepithelium and the olfactory bulb. During late embryogenesis, FGF-1 expression is turned on in the mitral cells, and the FGF-1 peptide becomes confined to layers of synaptic neuropil in the postnatal olfactory bulb. FGF-1 is selectively present in glomeruli and the external plexiform layer. In cultures of olfactory neuroepithelial cells, complexes between FGF-1 and an appropriate activating heparan sulfate proteoglycan stimulated morphological differentiation of both olfactory nerve ensheathing cells and primary sensory olfactory neurons. Thus, the spatiotemporal expression and the functional properties of FGF-1 in this system suggest that this molecule plays an important regulatory role in the formation of the olfactory pathway.

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