A new study in Science reveals that the fundamental wiring of the olfactory system in mice sets up shortly after birth and then remains stable but adaptable. The research highlights how important early development can be throughout life and provides insights that may be important in devising regenerative medical therapies in the nervous system.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — To accommodate a lifetime of scents and aromas, mammals have hundreds of genes that each produce a different odorant receptor. The complex and diverse olfactory system they build remains adaptable, but a new study in the journal Science shows that the system’s flexibility, or plasticity, has its limits. Working in mice, Brown University scientists found that the fundamental neural wiring map between the nose and the brain becomes established in a critical period of early development and then regenerates the same map thereafter. (more…)