A new study finds that the olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) exhibit activity-dependent survival, a property that may be critical for an animals ability to maximize and retain responsiveness to crucial odorants in its environment. The research, published in the March 25 issue of Neuron, finds that a molecular signaling pathway linked to neuronal survival in the central nervous system plays a significant role in odor-induced enhancement of olfactory cell survival.
It is well known that the olfactory epithelium can adapt in the very short term to odorant stimulation by receptor desensitization and habituation. However, the ability of odorants to stimulate long-lasting changes in OSNs has been suggested but not clearly elucidated. Dr. Daniel R. Storm and colleagues from The University of Washington in Seattle developed a novel method to monitor the survival of OSNs after stimulation with odorants and to examine the signaling pathways required for cell survival. OSNs were labeled using a sophisticated noninvasive adenovirus technique. Exposure to odorants enhanced the survival of subpopulations of unperturbed neurons and neurons that were exposed to a stimulus that normally causes cell death. Further investigation revealed that the ERK/MAP kinase/CREB pathway is directly involved in odorant-stimulated rescue of OSNs.
The researchers conclude that OSNs are capable of dynamic long-term adjustment to sensory information in the environment. This is significant for animals because the persistence of odorant-detecting cells would be dictated by odorants encountered in the environment, some of which might be critical for survival. These results are also important for humans. "The identification of a chemical pathway that protects olfactory sensory neurons from cell death has important medical implications since olfactory sensory neurons die during a number of conditions including sinusitis and head injury. In addition, we lose about 1% of our sense of smell per year as we age, and olfaction loss is associated with several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease. The data in this paper suggests that drugs that activate the Erk/MAP kinase pathway may be used to protect olfactory sensory neurons from cell death associated with sinusitis, head injury, aging, and neurodegenerative diseases," explains Dr. Storm.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
New study finds distinct microbes living next to corals
22.05.2019 | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Summit charts a course to uncover the origins of genetic diseases
22.05.2019 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy