Supernumerary formation of olfactory glomeruli induced by chronic odorant exposure: a constructivist expression of neural plasticity.

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It is accepted that sensory experience instructs the remodelling of neuronal circuits during postnatal development, after their specification has occurred. The story is less clear with regard to the role of experience during the initial formation of neuronal circuits, whether prenatal or postnatal, since this process is now supposed to be primarily influenced by genetic determinants and spontaneous neuronal firing. Here we evaluated this last issue by examining the effect that postnatal chronic exposure to cognate odorants has on the formation of I7 and M72 glomeruli, iterated olfactory circuits that are formed before and after birth, respectively. We took advantage of double knock-in mice whose I7 and M72 primary afferents express green fluorescent protein and β-galactosidase, correspondingly. Our results revealed that postnatal odorant chronic exposure led to the formation of permanent supernumerary I7 and M72 glomeruli in a dose and time dependent manner. Glomeruli in exposed mice were formed within the same regions of olfactory bulb and occupy small space volumes compared to the corresponding single circuits in non-exposed mice. We suggest that local reorganization of the primary afferents could participate in the process of formation of supernumerary glomeruli. Overall, our results support that sensory experience indeed instructs the permanent formation of specific glomeruli in the mouse olfactory bulb by means of constructivist processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e35358
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

This record is sourced from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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