Apoptosis induced by prolonged exposure to odorants in cultured cells from rat olfactory epithelium.
ABSTRACT Multicellular organisms undergo programmed cell death (PCD) as a mechanism for tissue remodeling during development and tissue renewal throughout adult life. Overdose of some neuronal receptor agonists like glutamate can trigger a PCD process termed excitotoxicity in neurons of the central nervous system. Calcium has an important role in PCD processes, especially in excitotoxicity. Since the normal turnover of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) relies, at least in part, on an apoptotic mechanism and odor transduction in ORNs involves an increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i), we investigated the possibility that long-term exposures to odorants could trigger an excitotoxic process in olfactory epithelial cells (EC). We used single-cell [Ca2+]i determinations and fluorescence microscopy techniques to study the effects of sustained odorant exposures in olfactory EC in primary culture. Induction of PCD was evaluated successively by three independent criteria: (1) measurements of DNA fragmentation, (2) translocation of phosphatidylserine to the external leaflet of the plasma membrane, and (3) caspase-3 activation. Our results support the notion of an odorant-induced PCD in olfactory EC. This odorant-induced PCD was prevented by LY83583, an odorant response inhibitor, suggesting that ORNs are the main epithelial cell population undergoing odorant-induced PCD.
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This study demonstrates, for the first time, that prolonged unilateral breathing can be harmful to the adult olfactory epithelium. Mice at least 5 months old had one naris closed by cautery and suture. These were divided into 5 groups of 10 mice which had unilateral naris closure for 1, 3, 6, 8 or 12 weeks. A control group of 10 mice was untreated. Variables that were assessed included the thicknesses and numbers of cells spanning olfactory epithelia in hematoxylin and eosin stained paraffin sections. Olfactory marker protein (OMP) immunohistochemistry was used to further visualize the differential impact of naris closure on the two sides of the nose. Unilateral naris closure for 6 weeks or longer caused dramatic losses of olfactory receptor cells in the rostral third of the open-side olfactory epithelia, but did not affect numbers of cells in caudal regions or on the closed sides. The thicknesses of the open and closed-side olfactory epithelia were significantly different for only the 8-week closure group. In most mice with unilateral naris closure for longer than 6 weeks there was little or no staining of the olfactory receptor neurons or their axon bundles for OMP in the affected regions of the open side.Brain Research 07/1989; 490(2):212-8. · 2.88 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Exposure-induced shifts in sensitivity to odors may involve peripheral and/or central components of the olfactory system. The ability to disconnect the olfactory epithelium from the bulbs provides a unique opportunity to examine how odorant exposure affects each component. In one experiment, odor thresholds were established for either amyl acetate or androstenone. The mice were then exposed for 10 days to the same test odorant for which a threshold was obtained. After exposure, sensitivity to the odorant increased relative to preexposure levels. The mice then underwent bilateral olfactory nerve transection (BNX). When both groups of mice were tested 45-50 days after recovery from surgery and return of olfactory function, increased sensitivity to the exposed odorant persisted; however, 121-203 days after surgery, sensitivity returned to preexposure levels. Another experiment was similar to the first except that mice were exposed to an odorant, either amyl acetate or androstenone, for 10 days beginning 1 day after BNX or sham surgery. When the mice were tested 45-50 days after surgery, sensitivity to the exposed odorant was increased relative to preexposure levels, whereas sensitivity to the nonexposed odorant remained at preexposure levels. Although further work is needed to determine the precise mechanism(s) underlying shifts in sensitivity to odors, these studies provide additional evidence for peripheral involvement in exposure-induced sensitization to odorants and demonstrate the remarkable capacity of the olfactory system to maintain or even regain sensitivity after injury.Physiology & Behavior 05/2001; 72(5):705-11. · 3.16 Impact Factor
- Developmental Biology - DEVELOP BIOL. 01/1980; 74(1):205-215.
Apoptosis induced by prolonged exposure to odorants in
cultured cells from rat olfactory epithelium
Sebastian Brauchia,b,1, Christian Ceaa,1, Jorge G. Fariasc,
Juan Bacigalupod,e, Juan G. Reyesa,⁎
aInstituto de Quimica, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, Casilla 4059, Valparaiso, Chile
bUniversidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile
cInstituto de Estudios de la Salud, Universidad Arturo Prat, Iquique, Chile
dDepartmento de Biologia, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
eCentro de Investigacion de Dinamica Celular y Biotechnologia, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
A B S T R A C T
Multicellular organisms undergo programmed cell death (PCD) as a mechanism for tissue
remodeling during development and tissue renewal throughout adult life. Overdose of some
neuronal receptor agonists like glutamate can trigger a PCD process termed excitotoxicity in
neurons of the central nervous system. Calcium has an important role in PCD processes,
especially in excitotoxicity. Since the normal turnover of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs)
term exposures to odorants could trigger an excitotoxic process in olfactory epithelial cells
(EC). We used single-cell [Ca2+]ideterminations and fluorescence microscopy techniques to
of PCD was evaluated successively by three independent criteria: (1) measurements of DNA
fragmentation, (2) translocation of phosphatidylserine to the external leaflet of the plasma
membrane, and (3) caspase-3 activation. Our results support the notion of an odorant-
induced PCD in olfactory EC. This odorant-induced PCD was prevented by LY83583, an
odorant response inhibitor, suggesting that ORNs are the main epithelial cell population
undergoing odorant-induced PCD.
Considerable progress has been made on elucidating the
mechanisms of olfactory transduction over the past decade.
Thus, several models have been proposed to explain how
odors are detected (Dionne and Dubin, 1994; Morales and
Bacigalupo, 1996; Madrid et al., 2005; Schild and Restrepo,
1998). In the best-established model, binding of an odorant to
its G-protein-coupled odorant receptor triggers a cyclic AMP
cascade (Schild and Restrepo, 1998). Cyclic AMP opens a cyclic
nucleotide-gated cation channel (CNGC; Nakamura and Gold,
1987). This event increases intracellular Ca2+concentration
([Ca2+]i) (Restrepo et al., 1993; Leinders-Zufall et al., 1998),
which in turn gates a calcium-dependent chloride channel
⁎ Corresponding author. Fax: +56 32 273422.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (J.G. Reyes).
1These authors contributed equally to this work.
(Kleene and Gesteland, 1991; Lowe and Gold, 1993; Kurahashi
and Yau, 1993). Both conductances are responsible for a
depolarizing (excitatory) receptor potential, leading to an
increase in action potential discharge frequency. Calcium
has also been shown to mediate odor inhibition by opening
Ca2+-dependent K+channels, causing a hyperpolarizing re-
ceptorpotentialthat leadsto a reductionin firing rate (Morales
et al., 1994; Sanhueza et al., 2000; Madrid et al., 2005).
As part of its normal turnover, ORN population density is
controlled by the balance between neurogenesis and apopto-
sis. Apoptosis occurs in mature ORNs under normal condi-
but the molecular entities that trigger this normal turnover
apoptotic process have not been identified. Sensory depriva-
tion by naris occlusion (Meisami, 1976) causes a reduction in
the turn over rate of ORNs, without changing the total number
of mature ORNs in the epithelium (Farbman et al., 1988). Thus,
the delay observed in normal apoptotic process was attributed
to a protective effect from airborn odorants.
(see Schild and Restrepo, 1998), we reasoned that a prolonged
exposure to high levels of odorants may be equivalent to a
sustained presence of an excitotoxic agent, which can lead to
programmed cell death (PCD) in other cell types through
processes that involve an increase in intracellular Ca2+(Said
et al., 1996; Mattson, 2000). In this work, we show, for the first
time that sustained over-exposition to odorants causes
apoptosis in a large fraction of cultured olfactory epithelial
cells (EC), including olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). The
CNGC blocker LY83583 prevented the rise in [Ca2+]iand the
odorant induction of apoptosis, presumably because it imped-
ed an abnormally sustained high intracellular Ca2+level by
abolishing theCa2+influx through its channel, strongly
suggesting that ORNs underwent an excitotoxicity-like PCD
We investigated whether prolonged odorant exposition of
olfactory neurons in culture induces programmed cell death.
Apoptosis was determined by three different approaches, all
of which supported the notion that odorants induce PCD
during extended exposures.
2.1.Olfactory epithelial cells in culture
In order to estimate the proportion of ORNs in our cultures, we
used an anti-OMP antibody which identifies mature ORNs.
Immune staining of the dissociated cells with this antibody
gave 47 ± 5% of stained cells (N = 2, 4 coverslips, 3 fields per
coverslip examined). Immune staining with the anti-OMP
antibody of the cultured cells after 48 h culture with change
of medium at 24 h, gave an average value of 77 ± 5% stained
cells (N = 2, 5 coverslips, 3 fields per coverslip examined;
Fig. 1B). Immunoassaying using an antibody against neurofi-
laments renders a good correlation with OMP distribution
(Fig 1A). Thus, our dissociation and culture procedure allowed
of these ORNs retained their morphology in primary cul-
tures (Fig. 1D). The viability of the cultured olfactory EC was
Fig. 1 – Rat olfactory epithelial cells in culture. Olfactory EC
were obtained by enzyme digestion of olfactory epithelia
followed by mechanical disruption to separate adult ORNs.
(A) The image shows a triple labeling of the cultured cells
after 48 h of culture (green = OMP, red = neurofilament,
blue = nucleus). A large proportion of cells showing both OMP
and neurofilament staining could be observed. Individual
channels are shown in the panels below, (B) Anti-OMP, (C)
anti-neurofilament, (D) merged image of bright field and
Hoescht 33342. Notice that some of the positive labeled cells
conserved their neuronal morphology (arrow). The scale bar
indicates 25 μm.
[Ca2+]i responses to odorants in ORNs inhibited by
The [Ca2+]iresponse of ORNs to odorants was studied in order
to determine, first, the functionality of these cells (selected by
their morphological characteristics), second, whether the
odorant concentration used was adequate to generate a
substantial raise in [Ca2+]i, and third, whether LY83583, a
the odorant-induced Ca2+response. A specific ORN was able to
respond repeatedly and reproducibly to an odorant (Fig. 2A).
Some cells responded to different odorants (Fig. 2C). We were
unable to determine the early time course of the [Ca2+]i
response due to limitations in the time resolution of our
image acquisition system. We observed that the total time
period that [Ca2+]istayed high varied from 100 to 300 s in the
different cells tested. The size of the response (peak value, ΔF/
and C and 3). Fig. 2C also shows that ionomycin was able
induce a prominent [Ca2+]i raise even in the presence of
LY83583 and after repeated exposures to the odorants,
indicating that the fluorescence probe was clearly sensitive
to changes in [Ca2+]iand that the magnitude of the [Ca2+]i
response was not limited by probe sensing capabilities.
Statistical analysis of the magnitudes of [Ca2+]iresponses for
EV and isobutyrate showed a significant difference (P < 0.01,
ANOVA followed by Bonferroni t test) in the presence and
absence of LY83583 (Fig. 3).
2.3. [Ca2+]iin ORNs under sustained odorant exposure
An elevation of [Ca2+]iappears to be a key factor in neuronal
excitotoxic PCD induction (Mattson, 2000). Using fluorescence
Fig. 2 – Fractional fluorescence change of Fluo-3 AM loaded
ORNs in primary culture upon odor stimulation. (A)
Responses of an ORN to 200 s stimuli of 150 μM isobutyrate
(Isob). (B) At the indicated times, the cell was sequentially
exposed to 150 μM isobutyrate (200 s), 150 μM
isobutyrate +10 μM LY83583, and back to isobutyrate. (C) The
cells were incubated for 5 min in the presence of 10 μM
LY83583, inhibitor of the odorant transduction cascade, and
thenthey were sequentially exposed to isobutyrate and ethyl
vanillin(EV, 150 μM each).The ability of Fluo-3loadedcells to
respond with [Ca2+]ichanges was tested with 5 μM
Fig. 3 – Single-cell peak fractional fluorescence change of
Fluo-3 AM loaded ORNs in primary culture upon odor
stimulation. LY83583 inhibits the [Ca2+]iresponse to
isobutyrate (Isob) or EV. Preincubation with 10 μM LY83583
significantly diminished the [Ca2+]iincrease induced by
150 μM Isob or EV (**P < 0.01, *P < 0.05; ANOVA-Bonferroni
test, N is the number of cell preparations tested).
Fig. 4 – Single-cell [Ca2+]imeasurements on Fluo-3 loaded olfactory EC continuously exposed to odorants for 3 h. (A) No odorant
addition (control), (B) vehicle, (C) ethyl vanillin (EV), (D) LY83583 + ethyl vanillin, (E) isobutyrate (Isob), (F) LY83583 + Isob, (G)
camptothecin (positive control). Continuous line in panel A indicates a Gauss fitting to the data. Dotted lines in all other panels
were drawn for comparison purposes, and correspond to a Gaussian curve with variable amplitude (arbitrarily set according to
the plotted data), but similar position and width parameters as the control Gaussian curve.
microscopy and Fluo-3 AM as a [Ca2+]i probe, we studied
whether a continuous exposure to an odorant was capable of
inducing a sustained rise in [Ca2+]i. The values of [Ca2+]iin
cultures subjected to diverse experimental conditions for 3 h
are plotted in Fig. 4: (A) no odorant addition, (B) vehicle, (C)
ethyl vanillin (EV), (D) LY83583 + ethyl vanillin, (E) isobuty-
rate (Isob), (F) LY83583 + isobutyrate, (G) camptothecin
(positive control). As seen in Fig. 4, 94% of control cells
presented [Ca2+]ivalues below 400 nM. In the presence of EV
some cells presented [Ca2+]i as high as 1.3 μM. LY83583
prevented this [Ca2+]i rise in EV treated cells, showing a
frequency profile very similar to the control values. Iso-
butyrate was also able to induce an increase in [Ca2+]i, with
>75% of the cells showing [Ca2+]ivalues larger than 400 nM.
In contrast to EV, LY83583 partially prevented the rise in
[Ca2+]iin olfactory EC treated with isobutyrate. Cells treated
with camptothecin, a topoisomerase inhibitor, showed
increased cell death and release of cells from the culture
plates. The remaining cells presented relatively high [Ca2+]i
revealed by DNA fragmentation
Odorant-induced apoptosis in olfactory epithelial cells
Because the different procedures to estimate apoptosis in
olfactory EC were not compatible with the simultaneous
determination of ORNs identity, we expressed our apoptosis
measurements as percentages of total olfactory EC. These
olfactory EC consisted of at least 77% ORNs (see above).
Continuous exposure to ethyl vanillin or isobutyrate for 3 h
induced apoptotic DNA strand breakages, of 66 ± 8 and 74 ± 5%
in the presence of ethyl vanillin and isobutyrate, respectively.
Considering spontaneous apoptosis of 10% of the cells, the
odorant-induced apoptosis was approximately 56 and 64% for
ethyl vanillin and isobutyrate, respectively. LY83583 reduced
the odorant-induced apoptosis to approximately 24% of the
cells (Fig. 5).
phophatidylserine presence in the external plasma
Odorant-induced apoptosis revealed by
DNA strand breakage, estimated by the ISOL assay, suggested
that an odor-induced apoptotic process was taking place in
olfactory EC. In order to confirm this observation, we indepen-
dently used an Annexin-V assay, which detects exposure of PS
V reactivity was found in all odorant-exposed cultures (Fig. 6).
Because of the variability in background annexin V values (3–
30%) between different cell preparations, we have expressed
the effects of the odorants as the relative changes with respect
to the control in each preparation. When the cells were
incubated with the odorants isobutyrate or ethylvanillin in
the presence of the olfactory response inhibitor LY83583, the
levels of apoptosis were not significantly different (P > 0.05;
(in the absence of odorant; Fig. 6). The effect of LY83583 of
abolishing odorant-induced annexin-V exposure to the exter-
nal leaflet of the plasma membrane strongly suggests that the
apoptotic process observed in olfactory EC was triggered by a
receptor-mediated odorant-induced mechanism.
Odorant-induced apoptosis revealed by caspase-3
Activation of a caspase cascade is a clear and definitive
indication that a cell has entered a PCD process. Specifically,
caspase-3 activation (an executor caspase) can be considered
as a no-return step in the apoptotic process. Because caspase
activation is a definitiveapoptotic index,we performed a more
exhaustive study of this parameter, including controls with
the different agents with which the cells were challenged. The
percentage of cells exhibiting caspase-3 activation was
Fig. 5 – DNA fragmentation analysis. The effects of odorants
on DNA strand breakage were evaluated using an ISOL assay
after 3 h incubation under the experimental conditions
shown in the figure (odorant-free, EV, EV + LY38538, and
Isob). Results shown in the graphs are presented as the
percentage of positive labeled cells in the culture.
Kruskall–Wallis–Dunn statistical analyses are shown
(*P < 0.05 vs. control, **P < 0.05 vs. EV).
Fig. 6 – Apoptosis revealed by the presence of
phosphatidylserine (PS) in the plasma membrane external
leaflet. Effects of odorants (150 μM) and 10 μM LY83583 on PS
translocation to the external leaflet of the plasma membrane
was estimated by the Annexin V assay. The data are
expressed as the relative apoptotic index of each treatment
with respect to the control without odorant.
Kruskall–Wallis–Dunn statistical analyses are shown
(*P < 0.05).
significantly larger in odorant-exposed than in the control
cultures (P < 0.05, Kruskall–Wallis–Dunn test) (Fig. 7). LY83583
prevented odorant-induced apoptosis in all odorant-exposed
cell cultures. No significant differences between odorant
supplemented with LY83583 treated cultures and control
cultures were observed. LY83583 by itself had no effect on
caspase-3 activation. Furthermore, LY83583 had no effect on
caspase-3 activation induced by camptothecin, a well known
inducer of apoptosis. These results confirmed that PCD was
induced by odorants in olfactory EC, as suggested by DNA
fragmentation and Annexin-V assays.
The olfactory epithelium is a remarkable tissue, where a
continuous neuronal cell renewal takes place throughout the
life span of an individual (Mackay-Sim, 2003). The cellular
response to odorants and the molecular mechanisms under-
lying it have been explored in a number of recent studies (e.g.,
Schild and Restrepo, 1998; Gibson and Garbers, 2000). Howev-
er, less attention has been given to the association of odorants
and cell death and renewal in this neuroepithelium. PCD has
been described in the olfactory epithelium, especially as a
consequence of the removal of the olfactory bulb (Nakagawa
et al., 1996; Michel et al., 1997) or due to normal turn over
(Cowan and Roskams, 2002; Suzuki, 2004). The relationship
between cellular turnover and environmental odorant expo-
sure has been previously explored (Maruniak et al., 1989;
Farbman et al., 1988; Hinds et al., 1984). Although it seems
clear that ORNs can die by the action of external noxious
stimuli, the role of extended odorant exposure on inducing
PCD in ORNs and its possible relationship with excitotoxicity
had not been previously investigated.
We were able to obtain a cultured cell preparation with
77 ± 5% of mature ORN cells, as judged by their reactivity to the
anti-OMP antibody; ∼40% of the OMP-positive cells retain their
neuronal characteristics. It has been described that 12–33% of
ORNs responded to a specific odorant (Sato et al., 1994;
Duchamp-Viret et al., 1999; Gomez et al., 2000). However, in
our experiments approximately 40% (range 32–45%) of the
cells responded to a pure odorant, an observation that was
likely due to the relatively high odorant concentration used in
our protocols. We found that prolonged exposure to odorants
triggered apoptosis in 57–83% of the cultured olfactory EC.
Because we used three independent criteria to estimate PCD
induction in these cells, we think that our results show
unequivocally the existence of an apoptotic mechanism
induced by odorants in olfactory EC. The fact that the fraction
of apoptotic cells (approximately 80%) was much larger than
the fraction of non-ORNs (approximately 25%) in culture
strongly suggests that apoptosis was induced in an important
fraction of ORNs. In fact, these numbers are in agreement with
the idea that ORNs are the main apoptotic target of prolonged
odorant exposure. This idea was confirmed both by the ability
of LY83583to significantly diminish the apoptoticaction of the
odorants, and the fact that apoptosis induced by camptothe-
cin, an inhibitor of mammalian topoisomerase I (Hsiang et al.,
1985), was not affected by LY83583. The effects of LY83583
strongly suggest that the odorant-induced PCD we observed is
mediated by the transduction mechanism of the sensory
neurons. Thus, our in vitro data provide good evidence that
olfactory EC can be inducedto undergoapoptosisby prolonged
and continuous odorant exposure. Given the fact that LY83583
can decrease the odorant-, but not the campotheticin-induced
apoptosis, our results can only be explained if an important
fraction of the apoptotic cells are ORNs.
It has been shown that [Ca2+]ihigher than 350 nM can
trigger a PCD process in neurons (Collins et al., 2001; Ferri and
Kroemer, 2001). Hence, the existence of a population of cells
that presented an odorant-dependent high [Ca2+]i change
among the cells exposed to the odorants suggests that an
increase in [Ca2+]iwas involved in the odorant-induced PCD
observed in our studies. This odorant-induced [Ca2+]iincrease
was inhibited by LY83583, also hinting that the odorant
induced PCD and odorant induced increase in[Ca2+]I were
linked. We attempted to test the hypothesis that [Ca2+]i
increases were responsible for the induction of apoptosis by
loading the cells with the Ca2+chelator BAPTA (using BAPTA-
AM), but failed due to the cytotoxic effects of this compound
on olfactory EC.
In vivo, Watt et al. (2004) have shown that ORNs over-
expressing an octanal receptor-GFP protein are protected from
death by intermittent exposure to octanal. Instead, Carr et al.
(2001) have shown that exposure to continuous high odorant
concentrations induced death in both ORNs and supporting
cells. Our data strongly indicate that ORNs undergo an
excitotoxic-like apoptotic death in vitro. We think that our
results can be taken as a basis to understand the apparently
more complex and sometimes contradictory results obtained
in vivo, that most likely are reflecting differences between
intermittent and continuous odorant exposure as well as the
Fig. 7 – Apoptosis revealed by caspase-3 activation. The data
were obtained after 3 h of exposure to the different
conditions. Odorant, camptothecin, LY83583, and caspase
inhibitor concentrations were (in μM) 150, 0.15, 10, and 2,
respectively. The bars show the control (C) in the absence of
odorant, LY83583, vehicle addition (veh), the reaction in the
presence of caspase-3 inhibitor (CIn), LY83583 + veh,
camptothecin (cpt), LY 83583 + camptothecin; ethyl vainillin
(EV), LY83583 + EV, isobutyrate (Isob), LY83583 + Isob.
Kruskall–Wallis–Dunn statistical analyses are shown
(*P < 0.05 vs. control, **P < 0.05 vs. EV, ***P < 0.05 vs. Isob).
Furthermore, it has been observedthat followinglong-term
odorant exposures (days), several days are needed for in vivo
recovery of odor-sensitivity. This observation has been inter-
preted as odor-induced adaptation, a phenomenon defined as
a decrease in odor sensitivity following repetitive or continu-
ous exposure to the same odorant (Dalton, 2000, Yee and
Wysocki, 2001). Our finding that ORNs undergo apoptosis
during prolonged odor exposures offers an alternative expla-
of functional ORNs, particularly considering that the recovery
time of odor sensitivity in vivo is similar to the time that
germinal epithelial basal cells take to proliferate and differen-
tiate into a new (naive) population of cells after damage
(Dalton, 2000; Herzog and Otto, 1999).
4.1.Cell preparation and culture
Nasal olfactory mucosa was obtained from two or three adult
male Wistar rats after cervical dislocation and decapitation,
according to the guidelines of the Animal Ethics Committee of
the University of Chile, Santiago, Chile. The epithelia were
dissectedand placedin Krebs–Henseleit buffer(KH;in mM:144
supplemented with 1.8 mg/ml glucose. A cell preparation
suitable for giving a high yield of ORNs was developed. In
brief, the epithelial tissue was placed in a Hanks balanced
solution with dispase II (4.8 U/ml, Sigma-Aldrich, USA). The
tissue after the enzyme digestion was mechanically disrupted
to separate adult ORNs. Large pieces of tissue were removed
with a fire polished Pasteur pipette. The cell suspension was
pelleted at 340 × g for 5 min and the resulting pellet was
suspended in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM)
supplemented with 10% bovine fetal serum, penicillin (100 U/
ml) and streptomycin (0.1 mg/ml). The cells were cultured on
12 mm cover slips pre-coated with pegotine (a bioadhesive,
preparation gave a high percentage of OMP positive cells (77%,
see Fig. 1 and Results).
The proportion of mature ORNs was estimated using a
polyclonal anti-olfactory marker protein (OMP) goat-anti-rat
antibody (Wako Chemicals USA Inc., Richmond, USA). The
OMP is present only in mature ORNs (Farbman and Margolis,
1980). After cell culture, the cells were fixed in 5% paraformal-
dehyde for 15 min at 4 °C. The fixative was washed out and -on
specific sites were blocked with 3% BSA for 3 h. Subsequently,
the ORNs were incubated with the primary antibody in the
presence of BSA (3%) at 4 °C for 1 h. After washing them with
PBS, the cells were incubated with a secondary antibody in the
presence of 3% BSA at 4 °C for 30 min. Fluorescence was
analyzed using a Zeiss Axiovert 200 M epifluorescence micro-
scope (Oberkochen, Germany) (excitation wavelength 340–
380 nm, emission wavelength >410 nm) and a 40× objective
lens. Primary antibodies used were polyclonal goat anti-rat
OMP (1:10,000) and monoclonal mouse anti-rat neurofilament
200 (1:500; Sigma-Aldrich, USA). Secondary antibodies used
were rabbit anti-goat IgG (1:500) and rabbit anti-mouse IgG
(1:200) coupled with AlexaFluor-488 and AlexaFluor-594, re-
spectively (Molecular Probes, USA). The nucleus was counter-
stained using Hoescht 33342 (H33342, Molecular Probes, USA).
Controls were performed omitting the primary antibody and
treating the sample with pre-immune goat serum.
4.3. Apoptosis induction
Cultured cells were exposed to odorants for 3 h. We utilized
the odorants isobutyrate (2-methylpropanoic acid and ethyl-
vanillin (3-ethoxy-4-hydroxybenzaldehyde) (Sigma Chemical
Co., St Louis, MO, USA), a putrid and floral odorant, respec-
tively, at final concentrations of 150 μM. This value was
chosen in order to expose the olfactory EC to a high odorant
concentration, but within the concentration range commonly
used in physiological studies (e.g., Ma and Shepherd, 2000;
Zufall and Leinders-Zufall, 2000). The odorant stock solutions
were prepared in ethanol (EtOH) (ethyl vanillin) or KH buffer
(isobutyrate) and added to the culture medium at a final EtOH
concentration of 0.4%. Several controls were designed for
caspase measurements: (1) no addition, (2) vehicle addition
(EtOH 0.4%), and (3) positive control (camptothecin, 0.15 μM,
Sigma Chemical Co., St Louis, MO, USA) (Hsiang et al., 1985).
The odorant response inhibitor LY83583 (10 μM) was used in
order to test the specificity of odorant PCD induction. This
compound effectively inhibits the cyclic nucleotide-gated
channel (Kd = ∼1.4 μM), as well as guanylyl cyclase III
(Leinders-Zufall and Zufall, 1995), two essential components
of the odorant transduction cascade.
4.4. Determination of cellular DNA fragmentation
in apoptosis, we utilized the In Situ Oligo Ligation method
(ApoTag ISOL, Q-BIOgene, UK). The ISOL method is based upon
the specificity of the enzyme T4 DNA ligase (Weiss et al., 1968);
in this method, synthetic nucleotides labeled with biotin
selectively react with the specific types of genomic DNA ends
(blunt and short single base ends) characteristics of apoptotic
cells. This reaction is followed by addition of a streptavidin–
peroxidase conjugate that binds tightly to the biotin on the
oligonucleotide. Lastly, the addition of DAB (diaminobenzi-
dine), a chromogenic peroxidase substrate, causes a brown
precipitate that in this work was visualized using bright field
microscopy. The ISOL reaction leads to a significantly smaller
number of false-positive results in comparison to terminal
deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphos-
phate nick-end labeling (TUNEL) and in situ end labeling (ISEL)
(Lesauskaite et al., 2004). DNA fragmentation estimated by
TUNEL assay has been utilized previously as an apoptotic
criterion in olfactory epithelium (Michel et al., 1997). In these
experiments, we utilized two cell preparations, 2 plates
(coverslips) per preparation and selected at least 3 fields per
plate, counting 50–87 cells/field. This procedure was repeated
for every condition tested.
4.5. Annexin-V labeling assay
An early indicator of apoptosis is the translocation of
phosphatidylserine (PS), from the internal to the external
leaflet of the plasma membrane. In order to detect phospha-
V-FLUOS kit for apoptosis detection (Boehringer-Mannheim,
Werk Penzberg, Germany). After carefully washing out the
culture medium, the cells were incubated with annexin-V
a NIKON Diaphotmicroscopewith theappropriateset of filters
for fluorescein and propidium iodide. This method allowed us
to differentiate apoptotic from lysed cells. Apoptotic cells
presented green membranes, and lysed cells presented green
membranes and red nuclei (Fadok et al., 1992). Non-apoptotic
cells did not fluoresce. Because lysed cells could have
previously undergone apoptosis, the annexin V assay gives a
minimum estimate of apoptosis. In these experiments, we
utilized 3 cell preparations, 3 plates (coverslips) per prepara-
tion and selected at least 3 fields per plate, counting 28–47
cells/field, a procedure that was repeated for every condition.
4.6. Determination of caspase-3 activation
A protease (caspase) cascade is one of the essential aspects of
PCD. Activation of caspase-3 implies an irreversible commit-
ment to cell death in the PCD process (e.g., Adrain and Martin,
2001). We estimated caspase-3 activation using a specific
substrate (PhiPhilux™ G2D2) from Calbiochem (CA, USA). In
this assay, a seven residue long peptide is linked to a fluo-
rescent probe that yields an intense red fluorescence signal
when it is cleaved by the enzyme (Komoriya et al., 2000). After
60 min of incubation in culture conditions with the caspase-3
substrate, the cells were carefully washed and their fluores-
cence was analyzed using a NIKON Diaphot epifluorescence
microscope (excitation wavelength 510–550 nm, emission
wavelength >570 nm). In some measurements, a caspase-3
inhibitor (Z-DEVD-FMK, Calbiochem, USA) was used to esti-
mate the specificity of the caspase-3 reaction. In these
experiments, we utilized 3 cell preparations, 3 plates (cover-
slips) per preparation and selected at least 3 fields per plate,
counting at least 43–310 cells/field. Such a procedure was
repeated for every condition.
Dynamic changes of [Ca2+]iinduced by odorants in
In order to correlate the effects of the odorants on apoptosis
if the isolated cells [Ca2+]i responded to the addition of
odorants. Fluo-3 AM (Molecular Probes, Eugene, OR) was used
to analyze the acute response of [Ca2+]iin ORNs to 150 μM
odorant addition, and the effect of LY83583 on this response.
Freshly isolated cells were incubated with Fluo-3 AM (5 μM) for
30 min at 33 °C. The probe was washed out from the dish and
fluorescence images were acquired with a cooled CCD camera
(SpectraSource, Los Angeles, USA) (excitation wavelength 440–
480, emission wavelength > 510) in an inverted Olympus IX-70
fluorescence microscope (40× objective lens). For the LY83583
assays, the cells were incubated with 10 μM LY83583 between
30 and 120 s prior to odorant addition. The measurements are
presented as the percentage of Fluo-3 fluorescence changes
(ΔF/Fo), where ΔF corresponds to the difference between the
time-dependent fluorescence after odorant addition and the
basal (Fo) average value 1 min before odorant addition. In
single-cell [Ca2+]i measurements, photo bleaching of the
fluorescent probe was reduced by using a 25% transmittance
neutraldensity filterand, whenpresent, itwascorrectedusing
a first order exponential decay function. The measurements
were performed in three different cell preparations and 10–15
cells were tested per condition.
[Ca2+]imeasurements in cells chronically exposed to
In order to analyze the steady state levels of [Ca2+]iin cells
exposed to the odorants for a prolonged time, we conducted
single-cell [Ca2+]imeasurements. After being exposed to the
odorants for 3 h, the cells were incubated with 5 μM Fluo-3 AM
for 30 min. Following wash-out,calibration of the Fluo-3 signal
was performed as described by Kao et al. (1989). In brief,
addition of ionomycin (5 μM) was followed by Mn2+(2 mM) and
ended with digitonin to permeabilize the cells. These exper-
imental conditions allowed us to estimate Fmax, Fmin, and
Fbackground, as described by Kao et al. (1989). In these experi-
ments, we utilized two cell preparations, 2 coverslips per
preparation and selected at least 3 fields per plate, deter-
mining [Ca2+]iin 7–19 cells/coverslip. This procedure was re-
peated for every condition.
4.9. Data acquisition and analysis
Calcium imaging was accomplished using an Olympus IX-70
epifluorescence inverted microscope with a cooled 16 bit CCD
camera model MCD-220 (SpectraSource Instruments, CA,
USA), attached to the videoport of the microscope. Images
were digitized with SpectraSource software and analyzed with
Scion Image for Windows (Scion Corporation, USA). Pictures
were acquired by an Axiocam photocamera (Zeiss, Oberko-
chen, Germany), and processed with Adobe Photoshop (Adobe
Systems Incorporated, USA). Data analysis was performed
with Microcal Origin (Microcal Software Inc., MA, USA).
GraphPAD InStat version 1.1 (GraphPAD software, USA) was
used for statistical analysis. This analysis included ANOVA
and Bonferroni test. Kruskall–Wallis non-parametric test
followed by Dunn's multiple comparison test was applied to
the data in order to determine differences in apoptosis. Each
cell preparation was derived from at least two rats.
We are indebted to Alan Mackay-Sim for critical reading of an
early version of the manuscript and to Javier Díaz for help on
preparing the figures. We also thank Dr. Ricardo Moreno for
providing us with some of the reagents. Supported by
FONDECYT 1990938 (JB and JR), FONDECYT 1050124, and
MIDEPLAN ICM P99-031-F (JB).
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