Injury-Induced Degeneration and Regeneration of the Adult Zebrafish Olfactory System Affects Morphology, Function, and Behavior

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Christine Byrd-Jacobs

Second Advisor

Dr. Cindy Linn

Third Advisor

Dr. John Jellies

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Christopher Pearl


Deafferentation, chemical lesion, glomeruli, adorants, teleost

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until



This study establishes a novel model for continued physical deafferentation of the adult olfactory bulb that lasts longer than the normal turnover rate of olfactory axons, by repeated chemical assault of the peripheral olfactory organ in adult zebrafish, Danio rerio. This method of deafferentation causes severe morphological disruption and removal of neurons in the peripheral olfactory organ, as well as decreased olfactory bulb innervation that results in changes in bulbar morphology and neurochemistry. Following treatment, partial innervation remains in a localized region of the olfactory bulb and animals are still capable of detecting odorants involved in feeding while they do not respond to odorants that mediate social behavior. This suggests that a subset of neurons mediating feeding behavior is differentially affected by detergent treatment. These results also indicate that even with minimal axonal innervation; the animals are still capable of detecting food. The advantage of this model is that cessation of treatment allows neuronal regeneration in the olfactory organ and a return of innervation to the brain. Even with extensive and long-term injury, the remarkable regenerative ability of the olfactory system allows for recovery.


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