Date of Award

4-2009

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Christine Byrd-Jacobs

Second Advisor

Dr. John Spitsbergen

Third Advisor

Dr. John Jellies

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

Zebrafish, Danio rerio, is emerging as an important model for olfactory function and plasticity studies. In this thesis, the rate of olfactory sensory neuronal turnover was described, about which, despite the increasing use of zebrafish in olfaction studies, little is known. Using novel methodology, the role of sensory innervation in stabilization of the olfactory bulb post-development was also examined. The olfactory epithelium of adult zebrafish was chemically ablated using Triton X-100. Measurements of the olfactory epithelium and immunocytochemistry demonstrated that the olfactory epithelium was significantly depleted 1 day after Triton X-100 application, but repaired itself to control levels of thickness and neuronal content between 1-5 days. In my second study, detergent was applied over several weeks to diminish the population of mature neurons while leaving basal cells to allow for regeneration once a recovery period was allowed. Though complete deafferentation was rarely produced, my study showed that afferents could be reduced by this ablation method, causing changes in bulbar neurochemistry, and that the system can regenerate if given time to recover. These findings will be useful to researchers studying neural turnover, especially in a non-mammalian model, and to researchers using chemical deafferentation in reinnervation studies.

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