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Keywords:

  • dopaminergic cells;
  • mitral/tufted cells;
  • olfaction;
  • olfactory nerve;
  • periglomerular cells;
  • Wistar rats

Abstract

Dopamine plays key roles in the processing of the olfactory information that takes place in the olfactory glomeruli. Previous studies using autoradiography demonstrate that, at the glomerular level, these actions are mainly mediated via activation of D2 dopamine receptors. Moreover, it has been suggested that D2 receptors could be present in the olfactory nerve, where they might modulate the entrance of olfactory input into the brain. Nevertheless, the precise subcellular localization of D2 receptors in the glomerular neuropil has not been investigated. In this report, we show the subcellular distribution of D2 receptors in the glomerular circuits of Wistar rats, using pre-embedding immunogold-silver labelling and electron microscopy. Present results demonstrate for the first time the presence of D2 dopamine receptors into the terminals of the olfactory axons. In addition, we demonstrate that D2 receptors are located into presynaptic elements of the glomerular neuropil other than the olfactory axons. These elements include the dendrites of the mitral/tufted cells and the dendrites of a subset of periglomerular cells that are GABAergic and dopaminergic. This distribution pattern provides anatomical support for a wide range of actions of dopamine in the glomerular circuits through presynaptic mechanisms mediated by D2 receptors. These actions would include: (i) modulation of the glutamate release from the olfactory axons to the dendrites of mitral/tufted cells and periglomerular cells; (ii) modulation of glutamatergic synapses from the dendrites of mitral/tufted cells to the dendrites of periglomerular cells and (iii) modulation of the neurotransmission from a subset of GABAergic/dopaminergic periglomerular cells to mitral/tufted cells.