Odorant threshold following methyl bromide-induced lesions of the olfactory epithelium

Steven Youngentob, James E. Schwob, Paul R. Sheehe, Lisa Youngentob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study assessed the functional consequences of peripheral olfactory destruction on the minimum detectable levels of stimulation for the odorants 2-propanol, D-limonene, and ethyl acetoacetate. Using standard operant techniques, eight Long-Evans rats were trained to criterion on an air versus odor differential response task. Odorant threshold was then determined on 10 consecutive testing sessions, using a computer-automated olfactometer and psychophysical tracking procedure. Following the last testing session, the rats were lesioned by exposing them to 330 ppm methyl bromide gas for 6 h. For each lesioned animal the anatomical state of the olfactory epithelium was evaluated relative to behavioral performance on the odorant threshold task at 3 days postlesion. For the group of rats, a comparison of pre- and postlesion performance demonstrated that, on the average, odor sensitivity was not altered by lesions that destroy roughly 95-98% of the epithelium. However, analysis of individual cases illustrated that two of the eight rats showed an elevation in odor sensitivity, albeit minimally, that was considered different from the prelesion performance. For those animals affected, we could extract no apparent relationship between the behavioral findings and the extent of anatomical damage. The results of this study demonstrate the remarkable capacity of the olfactory system to maintain normal or near-normal detection sensitivity in the face of massive damage. This capacity presumably reflects both the normal exposure of the epithelium to continual injury and the importance of maintained olfactory function for the survival of the animal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1252
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Volume62
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

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methyl bromide
Olfactory Mucosa
Epithelium
Long Evans Rats
2-Propanol
Odorants
Gases
Air

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Odorant threshold following methyl bromide-induced lesions of the olfactory epithelium. / Youngentob, Steven; Schwob, James E.; Sheehe, Paul R.; Youngentob, Lisa.

In: Physiology and Behavior, Vol. 62, No. 6, 01.01.1997, p. 1241-1252.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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