Exposure to a broad range of odorants decreases cell mortality in the olfactory bulb

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Experience with multiple odorants during early postnatal development increases the number of cells in the olfactory bulb of rats. In this study, we asked whether at least part of this increase was due to decreased cell death. We selected 30 natural odorants or synthetic odorant mixtures to stimulate a broad area of the bulb during postnatal days 1–15, and counted the number of cells with DNA damage associated with cell death in both the glomerular and the granule cell layers of the main olfactory bulb. Early olfactory enrichment significantly decreased cell death in both bulbar laminae. Thus, olfactory enrichment can spare bulbar cells during early development, possibly leading to increased efficacy in bulb function and enhanced bulbar responses.

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