Study: Stem cells report olfactory nerves

Apr 30, 2007

U.S. researchers identified a "backup supply" of stem cells that can repair the most severely damaged nerves responsible for human olfactory sense.

The only nerve cells in the body to run directly from the brain to the outside world, olfactory cells are under constant assault from harsh chemicals that can cause damage or death.

To determine how the olfactory system repairs severely damaged nerve cells, Johns Hopkins University Professor Randall Reed and colleagues exposed mouse olfactory nerves to a cloud of toxic methyl-bromide gas that kills not only olfactory nerve cells but also neighboring, non-nerve cells in the nasal passage. Three weeks later the researchers examined the mice to see which, if any, nerve cells had regrown.

They discovered newly grown cells, both nerve and non-nerve, had grown from HBCs -- cells not previously known for repair abilities.

"We were stunned because HBCs normally don't grow much or do anything," said Reed. "And the most surprising thing is HBCs can grow into both nerves and non-nerve cells; they do so by generating the other active type of nasal stem cell."

The study appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Serotonin neuron subtypes: New insights could inform SIDS understanding, depression treatment

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Do we owe our sense of smell to epigenetics?

Mar 05, 2013

(Phys.org) —Olfactory sensory neurons – nerve cells in the nose – directly sense molecules that convey scent, then send the signals to the brain. Biologists have long wondered how it's possible for ...

Certain compounds stimulate mosquito taste receptors

Aug 05, 2014

Mosquitoes not only have a sense of smell for certain insect repellents, but they also have a sense of taste for these chemicals, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists.

Odor code for food is based on a few volatile substances

Jun 25, 2014

(Phys.org) —The actual flavor of a food is experienced through our sense of smell rather than with our tongue. However, of the large number of volatile compounds in foods, only about 230 are involved in ...

Fly dreams and the boundaries of evolutionary science

Jan 02, 2014

In 2002, Secretary of state Donald Rumsfeld made a statement regarding weapons of mass destruction that today is still well known. He famously parsed the evidence (or lack thereof) into "known knowns, known ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.