Elisa Galliano1,2 Christiane Hahn,1 Lorcan P. Browne,1 Paula R. Villamayor,1 Candida Tufo,1 Andres Crespo,1 and Matthew S. Grubb1


1Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, SE1 1UL, United Kingdom
2Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 3DY, United Kingdom




Can alterations in experience trigger different plastic modifications in neuronal structure and function, and if so, how do they integrate at the cellular level? To address this question, we interrogated circuitry in the mouse olfactory bulb responsible for the earliest steps in odor processing. We induced experience-dependent plasticity in mice of either sex by blocking one nostril for one day, a minimally invasive manipulation that leaves the sensory organ undamaged and is akin to the natural transient blockage suffered during common mild rhinal infections. We found that such brief sensory deprivation produced structural and functional plasticity in one highly specialized bulbar cell type: axon-bearing dopaminergic neurons in the glomerular layer. After 24 h naris occlusion, the axon initial segment (AIS) in bulbar dopaminergic neurons became significantly shorter, a structural modification that was also associated with a decrease in intrinsic excitability. These effects were specific to the AIS-positive dopaminergic subpopulation because no experience-dependent alterations in intrinsic excitability were observed in AIS-negative dopaminergic cells. Moreover, 24 h naris occlusion produced no structural changes at the AIS of bulbar excitatory neurons, mitral/tufted and external tufted cells, nor did it alter their intrinsic excitability. By targeting excitability in one specialized dopaminergic subpopulation, experience-dependent plasticity in early olfactory networks might act to fine-tune sensory processing in the face of continually fluctuating inputs.



Cells were visualized using an upright microscope (Axioskop Eclipse FN1 Nikon) equipped with a 40× water immersion objective; and for DA cell identification, tdT fluorescence was revealed by LED (CoolLED pE-100) excitation with appropriate excitation and emission filters (ET575/50m, CAIRN Research)

Product Associated Features

The compact, single-bandwidth pE-100 is ideal for visualising a single fluorophore - in this case tdT to identify dopaminergic neurons.

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The Journal of Neurocience

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