Chemical lesion of olfactory neuroepitheium induced an up-regulation of the mGlu1a metabotropic glutamate receptor protein in the olfactory bulb, as shown by Western blot analysis. At 2 days after the lesion, the increase in the receptor protein was associated with an increase in mGlu1a mRNA levels; in contrast, at longer times after the lesion (16 days), mRNA levels were reduced in spite of the high expression of the receptor protein, perhaps as a result of product-inhibition of mGlu1 gene expression. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that the increase in mGlu1a induced by olfactory denervation was confined to the glomeruli, which occupy the external portion of the olfactory bulb. Within these structures, mGlu1a receptors are mainly localized on the distal dendrites of mitral cells, which are innervated by the glutamatergic axons of the olfactory nerve.
These results demonstrate that the expression of mGlu1a receptors is up-regulated in response to glutamatergic deafferentation, supporting a role for this particular receptor subtype in the physiology of synaptic transmission.