Recovery of olfactory function after bilateral bulbectomy

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Science  16 Apr 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4543, pp. 322-324
DOI: 10.1126/science.7063891


Mice were trained to discriminate between scented and unscented air. After olfactory bulbs were removed, discrimination was lost, but returned with the formation of synaptic connections between regenerated primary olfactory neurons and the cortex of the forebrain. The acquisition of a second olfactory-mediated task by long-term bulbectomized mice and controls was indistinguishable. The results emphasize the plasticity of the nervous system, correlate the presence of neural connections between olfactory mucosa and forebrain with the recovery of olfactory function, suggest that olfactory-mediated memory resides at least in part outside the olfactory bulbs, and demonstrate that the bulbs are not required for the acquisition of olfactory tasks.

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