Changes in the neural representation of odorants after olfactory deprivation in the adult mouse olfactory bulb

Marley D. Kass, Josep Pottackal, Daniel J. Turkel, John P. McGann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Olfactory sensory deprivation during development has been shown to induce significant alterations in the neurophysiology of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs), the primary sensory inputs to the brain's olfactory bulb. Deprivation has also been shown to alter the neurochemistry of the adult olfactory system, but the physiological consequences of these changes are poorly understood. Here we used in vivo synaptopHluorin (spH) imaging to visualize odorant-evoked neurotransmitter release from ORNs in adult transgenic mice that underwent 4 weeks of unilateral olfactory deprivation. Deprivation reduced odorant-evoked spH signals compared with sham-occluded mice. Unexpectedly, this reduction was equivalent between ORNs on the open and plugged sides. Changes in odorant selectivity of glomerular subpopulations of ORNs were also observed, but only in ORNs on the open side of deprived mice. These results suggest that naris occlusion in adult mice produces substantial changes in primary olfactory processing which may reflect not only the decrease in olfactory stimulation on the occluded side but also the alteration of response properties on the intact side. We also observed a modest effect of true sham occlusions that included noseplug insertion and removal, suggesting that conventional noseplug techniques may have physiological effects independent of deprivation per se and thus require more careful controls than has been previously appreciated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-89
Number of pages13
JournalChemical senses
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Olfactory transduction
  • Optical imaging
  • Sensory deprivation
  • SynaptopHluorin

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