Bilaterally Olfactory Bulbectomized Rat Model of Depression

  • B. E. Leonard
  • J. Butler
  • B. O’Neill
  • W. T. O’Connor


In the rat the integrity of the olfactory system is necessary for the normal functioning of the limbic system; disruption of the olfactory system results in behavioral abnormalities that are unrelated to a deficit in olfaction.1 There is evidence that lesions of the olfactory bulbs result in degeneration of limbic and nonlimbic regions that receive afferent projections from the bulbs. Such changes could be responsible for the specific behavioral effects as a consequence of the changes in the response of the animal to external and internal stimuli. Changes in social behaviors (e.g., increased aggression, territorial activity, and increased irritability), sexual behavior (e.g., maternal and mating behaviors), and such nonsocial behaviors as exploratory activity and passive avoidance learning have been reported to occur in rats following bulbectomy. These behavioral deficits have been reviewed by Leonard and Tuite.2 Of the nonsocial behaviors that are disrupted following bulbectomy, active avoidance performance is largely facilitated, whereas passive avoidance shows behavioral deficits.3,4 Anosmia, caused by the irrigation of the olfactory mucosa with zinc sulfate solution, does not cause any of the behavioral deficits reported to occur following bilateral bulbectomy.5


Olfactory Bulb Depressed Patient Behavioral Deficit Olfactory Bulbectomy Passive Avoidance Learning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Cain DP. The role of the olfactory bulb in limbic mechanisms. Psychol Bull 1974; 81: 654–671.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Leonard BE, Tuite M. Anatomical, physiological and behavioural aspects of olfactory bulbectomy in the rat. Int Rev Neurobiol 1981; 22: 251–286.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Marks HE, Remley NR, Seago, JD, et al. Effects of bilateral lesions of the olfactory bulb of rats as measures of learning and motivation. Physiol Behav 1971; 7: 1–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sieck MH, Gordon BL. Selective olfactory bulb lesions, reactivity changes and avoidance learning in rats. Physiol Behav 1973; 9: 545–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sieck MH. Selective olfactory lesions in rats and changes in appetite and aversive behaviour. Physiol Behav 1973; 10: 705–710.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    La Rue DG, Le Magneu J. The olfactory control of meal patterns in rats. Physiol Behav 1972; 9: 817–821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sakurada, J, Shima K, Jadano I, et al. Sleep wakefulness rhythms in olfactory bulb lesioned rats. Jpn J Pharmacol 1976; 26: 605–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Routtenberg A. The two-arousal hypothesis: reticular formation and limbic system. Psychol Rev 1968; 75: 51–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. .Jancsár SM, Leonard BE. Changes in neurotransmitter metabolism following olfactory bulbectomy in the rat. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 1984; 263–269.Google Scholar
  10. Leonard BE. Neurotransmitter receptors, endocrine responses, and the biological substrates of depression: review. Hum Psychopharmacol 1986; 3–21.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cairncross KD, Cox B, Forster C, et al. Olfactory projection systems, drugs and behaviour: a review. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1979; 4: 253–272.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lloyd KG, Morselli, PL Depoortere H, et al. The potential use of GABA agonists in psychiatric ádisorders: evidence from studies with progabide in animal models and clinical trials. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1985; 18: 957–966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jancsár S, Leonard BE. The effect of the racemates of mianserin and its enantiomers on the behavioural hyperactivity of the olfactory bulbectomized rat. Neuropharmacology 1985; 23: 1065–1070.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    O’Connor WT, Leonard BE. Effect of chronic administration of the 6-aza analogue of mianserin (Org. 3770) and its enantiomers on behaviour and changes in noradrenaline metabolism of olfactory bulbectomized rats in the “open field” apparatus. Neuropharmacology 1986; 25: 267–270.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Healy D, Carney PA, O’Halloran A, et al. Peripheral adrenoceptors and serotonin receptors in depression: changes associated with response to treatment with trazodone or amitriptyline. J Affective Disord 1985; 9: 285–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Butler J, Leonard BE. Post-partum depression and the effects of nomifensine treatment. Int Clin Psychopharmacol 1986; 1: 244–252.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Coppen A, Wood KM. Platelet 5-hydroxytryptamine uptake in depressive illness. Acta Psychiatr Scand [Suppl 280] 1980; 21–28.Google Scholar
  18. Butler J, Leonard BE. The effects of a novel serotonin uptake inhibitor on the behaviour and the serotonergic system of the olfactory bulbectomized rat model of depression. In: Proceedings of the British Association of Psychopharmacology, Cambridge, August 1986.Google Scholar
  19. O’Neill B, O’Connor WT, Leonard BE. Is there an abnormality in neutrophil phagocytosis in depression? IRCS Med Sci 1986; 802–803.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    O’Neill B, Leonard BE, O’Connor WT. Depressed neutrophil phagocytosis in the rat following olfactory bulbectomy reversed by chronic desipramine treatment. IRCS Med Sci 1987; 15: 267–268.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. E. Leonard
  • J. Butler
  • B. O’Neill
  • W. T. O’Connor

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations