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Anat Rec (Hoboken) September 1, 2013; 296 (9): 1462-76.

Ontogenesis of the extra-bulbar olfactory pathway in Xenopus laevis.

Gaudin A , Lardière-Butterfield J , Gascuel J .

Although the development, anatomy, and physiology of the vertebrate olfactory system are fairly well understood, there is still no clear definition of the terminal nerve complex acknowledged by all. Among the most debated matters is whether or not the extrabulbar projections found in anamniotes should or should not be considered part of the terminal nerve complex. In this context, we investigated the early development of the extrabulbar pathway in Xenopus larvae from placodal differentiation to postmetamorphic stages. We showed that the extrabulbar fibers become visible around Stage 42 and are conserved throughout metamorphosis. We confirmed previous reports concerning their central projection patterns. In addition, we showed that these fibers originate from two types of cell bodies located in the olfactory epithelium at premetamorphic stages. Furthermore, in postmetamorphic animals, we showed that the extrabulbar axons originated from both aquatic and aerial cavities. Retrograde tracing experiment also revealed densifications evocating cell bodies along the extrabulbar axons, distributed at different positions along the olfactory nerve depending on the stages of development. These densifications were observed closer to the periphery early in development and always closer to the olfactory bulb up to the metamorphic climax. We discuss these results in light of the latest theories and more recent reports.

PubMed ID: 23904212
Article link: Anat Rec (Hoboken)