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Immunohistochemical expression of two members of the GDNF family of growth factors and their receptors in the olfactory system.

Maroldt H., Kaplinovsky T., Cunningham A.M.

The glial cell line-derived (GDNF) family of trophic factors, GDNF, neurturin, persephin and artemin, are known to support the survival and regulate differentiation of many neuronal populations, including peripheral autonomic, enteric and sensory neurons. Members of this family of related ligands bind to specific GDNF family receptor (GFR) proteins, which complex and signal through the Ret receptor tyrosine kinase. We showed previously that GDNF protein was detectable in olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) in the olfactory neuroepithelium (ON). In this immunohistochemical study, we localized GDNF, neurturin, GFRalpha1, GFRalpha2 and Ret in the adult rat ON and olfactory bulb. We found that GDNF and Ret were widely expressed by immature and mature OSNs, while neurturin was selectively expressed in a subpopulation of OSNs zonally restricted in the ON. The GFRs had differential expression, with mature OSNs and their axons preferentially expressing GFRalpha1, whereas progenitors and immature neurons more avidly expressed GFRalpha2. In the bulb, GDNF was highly expressed by the mitral and tufted cells, and by periglomerular cells, and its distribution generally resembled that of Ret, with the exception that Ret was far more predominant on fibers than cell bodies. Neurturin, in contrast, was present at lower levels and was more restricted in its expression to the axonal compartment. GFRalpha2 appeared to be the dominant accessory protein in the bulb. These data are supportive of two members of this neurotrophic family, GDNF and neurturin, playing different physiological roles in the olfactory neuronal system.

J. Neurocytol. 34:241-255(2005) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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