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Olfactory neuron-specific expression of NeuroD in mouse and human nasal mucosa

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Human olfactory neuroepithelium (OE) is situated within the olfactory cleft of the nasal cavity and has the characteristic property of continually regenerating neurons during the lifetime of the individual. This regenerative ability of OE provides a unique model for neuronal differentiation, but little is known about the structure and biology of human olfactory mucosa. Thus, to better understand neurogenesis in human OE, we studied the expression of olfactory marker protein (OMP), TrkB and NeuroD in human nasal biopsies and autopsy specimens and compared these data with those obtained from normal and regenerating mouse OE. We show that NeuroD and TrkB are coordinately expressed in human OE. Thus, by using these markers we have been able to extend the known boundaries of the human OE to include the inferior middle turbinate. In normal mouse OE, TrkB and OMP expression overlap in cells closest to the superficial layer, but TrkB is expressed more strongly in the lower region of this layer. In contrast, NeuroD expression is more basally restricted in a region just above the globose basal cells. These characteristic expression patterns of OMP, TrkB and NeuroD were also observed in the regenerating mouse OE induced by axotomy. These results support a role of NeuroD and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the preferred ligand for TrkB, in the maintenance of the olfactory neuroepithelium in humans and mice.

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Nibu, K., Li, G., Zhang, X. et al. Olfactory neuron-specific expression of NeuroD in mouse and human nasal mucosa. Cell Tissue Res 298, 405–414 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004419900098

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  • Apoptosis Bulbectomy Human middle turbinate Olfactory neuroepithelium TrkB Olfactory neurogenesis Mouse (B6C3F1) Human