The Pig Olfactory Brain: A Primer

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Abstract

Despite the fact that pigs are reputed to have excellent olfactory abilities, few studies have examined regions of the pig brain involved in the sense of smell. The present study provides an overview of the olfactory bulb, anterior olfactory nucleus, and piriform cortex of adult pigs using several approaches. Nissl, myelin, and Golgi stains were used to produce a general overview of the organization of the regions and confocal microscopy was employed to examine 1) projection neurons, 2) GABAergic local circuit neurons that express somatostatin, parvalbumin, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, or calretinin, 3) neuromodulatory fibers (cholinergic and serotonergic), and 4) glia (astrocytes and microglia). The findings revealed that pig olfactory structures are quite large, highly organized and follow the general patterns observed in mammals.

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