• olfactory epithelium;
  • olfactory bulb;
  • calretinin;
  • S100;
  • lectins;
  • crypt cells


Olfaction in fish has been studied using preferentially macrosmatic species as models. In the present research, the labelling patterns of different neuronal markers and lectins were analyzed in the olfactory neurons and in their bulbar axonal endings in the guppy Poecilia reticulata, belonging to the group of microsmatic fish. We observed that calretinin immunostaining was confined to a population of olfactory receptor cells localized in the upper layers of the sensory mucosa, probably microvillous neurons innervating the lateral glomerular layer. Immunoreactivity for S100 proteins was mainly evident in crypt cells, but also in other olfactory cells belonging to subtypes projecting in distinct regions of the bulbs. Protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5) was not detected in the olfactory system of the guppy. Lectin binding revealed the presence of N-acetylglucosamine and α-N-acetylgalactosamine residues in the glycoconjugates of numerous olfactory neurons ubiquitously distributed in the mucosa. The low number of sugar types detected suggested a reduced glycosidic variability that could be an index of restricted odorant discrimination, in concordance with guppy visual-based behaviors. Finally, we counted few crypt cells which were immunoreactive for S100 and calretinin. Crypt cells were more abundant in guppy females. This difference is in accordance with guppy gender-specific responses to pheromones. Cells immunoreactive to calretinin showed no evidence of ventral projections in the bulbs. We assumed the hypothesis that their odorant sensitivity is not strictly limited to pheromones or sexual signals in general. Anat Rec, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.