Morphology and histochemistry of the peripheral olfactory organ in the round goby, Neogobius melanostomus (Teleostei: Gobiidae)

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Journal of Morphology





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This first comprehensive study of the peripheral olfactory organ from a representative of the large and economically important order of teleost fishes, the Perciformes, shows a compact structure with olfactory sensory neurons distributed widely throughout the olfactory chamber. The spatial organization of the nasal cavity in the bottom-dwelling round goby (Gobiidae, Neogobius melanostomus) was examined using impression material injection, immunocytochemistry, and transmission electron microscopy. The olfactory chamber contains a single olfactory lamella; prominent dorsocaudal lachrymal and ethmoidal accessory nasal sacs are situated ventrocaudal to the chamber. The location of the olfactory mucosa within the olfactory chamber is novel for teleost fish, as it extends beyond the ventral surface to the lateral and dorsal regions. Microvillar olfactory sensory neurons and ciliated olfactory sensory neurons were identified by transmission electron microscopy and the spatial distribution of these two cell types was assessed through immunocytochemistry against olfactory receptor coupled G-proteins. Both Gαolf-immunoreactive ciliated olfactory sensory neurons and the Gαo-immunoreactive microvillar form were located throughout the olfactory epithelium. Ciliated crypt cells were Gαo immunoreactive and were found throughout the olfactory epithelium of some specimens. The widespread occurrence of olfactory sensory neurons in the olfactory chamber supports the idea that olfactory signaling is important to the survival of the round goby. The prominence of the lachrymal and ethmoidal accessory nasal sacs indicates the capacity to regulate the flow of odorant molecules over the sensory surface of the olfactory sensory neurons, possibly through a pump-like mechanism driven by opercular activity associated with gill ventilation. J. Morphol. 257:62–71, 2003, © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.