Basic fibroblast growth factor and fibroblast growth factor receptors in adult olfactory epithelium
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Basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF2) stimulates proliferation of the globose basal cells, the neuronal precursor in the olfactory epithelium. The present study investigates the expression of basic fibroblast growth factor and fibroblast growth factor receptors in the adult olfactory epithelium. FGF2 immunoreactivity was expressed widely in the olfactory epithelium, with the highest density of immunoreactivity in the supporting cells. In contrast, most cells in the epithelium expressed FGF2 mRNA. Fibroblast growth factor receptor-1 (FGFr1) immunoreactivity was densest in the basal cell and neuronal layers of the olfactory epithelium and on the apical surface of supporting cells. In the lamina propria FGF2 immunoreactivity and mRNA were densest in cells close to the olfactory nerve bundles. FGFr1 immunoreactivity was heaviest on the olfactory ensheathing cells. Using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis, the olfactory epithelium was shown to express only three receptor splice variants, including one (FGFr1c) with which basic fibroblast growth factor has high affinity. Other receptor splice variants were present in the lamina propria. Taken together, these observations indicate endogenous sources of FGF2 within the olfactory epithelium and lamina propria and suggest autocrine and paracrine pathways via which FGF2 might regulate olfactory neurogenesis. The observation of only three receptor splice variants in the olfactory epithelium limits the members of the fibroblast growth factor family which could act in the olfactory epithelium. The widespread distribution of receptors suggests that fibroblast growth factors may have roles other than proliferation of globose basal cells.