The Role of Early Experience in Olfactory Bulb Cell Survival

  • Brett Johnson
  • Michael Leon


Restriction of early sensory experience alters brain development, but the consequences of reduced experience are particularly dramatic in the olfactory system. In other sensory systems, restricted early experience has not been shown to cause cell death, unless the system has been physically damaged or activity in the sensory nerve has been suppressed with tetrodotoxin (Born and Rubel, 1988; Catsicas et al., 1992; Galli-Resta et al., 1993; Salvi and Henderson, 1996; Rauschecker, 1991; Woolsey, 1990). In the bulb, however, physical closure of an external naris on postnatal day (P) 1 or 2 restricts early olfactory stimulation and thereby reduces olfactory bulb neuronal activity (Brunjes, 1994). By P20–30, the density of tufted cells, glial cells, juxtaglomerular cells and granule cells decrease by 30–45% (Meisami and Safari, 1981; Skeen et al., 1985; Frazier and Brunjes, 1988). The decreased cell number in the odor-restricted bulb is due to cell death, rather than to a decreased rate of neurogenesis (Frazier-Cierpial and Brunjes, 1989).


Olfactory Bulb Mitral Cell Main Olfactory Bulb Glomerular Layer Tufted Cell 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brett Johnson
    • 1
  • Michael Leon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurobiology and BehaviorUniversity of CaliforniaIrvine

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