Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR) Publications


Differential expression of components of the retinoic acid signaling pathway in the adult mouse olfactory epithelium

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Shriver Center; Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Tretinoin; Retinal Dehydrogenase; Olfactory Mucosa; Receptors, Retinoic Acid


Cell and Developmental Biology


Position within a tissue often correlates with cellular phenotype, for example, differential expression of odorant receptors and cell adhesion molecules across the olfactory mucosa (OM). The association between position and phenotype is often paralleled by gradations in the concentration of retinoic acid (RA), caused by differential expression of the RA synthetic enzymes, the retinaldehyde dehydrogenases (RALDH). We show here that RALDH-1, -2, and -3 are enriched in the sustentacular cells, deep fibroblasts of the lamina propria, and the superficial fibroblasts, respectively, of the ventral and lateral OM as compared to the dorsomedial OM. The shift from high to low expression of the RALDHs matches the boundary defined by the differential expression of OCAM/mamFasII. Further, we found that RA-binding proteins are expressed in the epithelium overlying the RALDH-3 expressing fibroblasts of the lamina propria. Both findings suggest that local alterations in RA concentration may be more important than a gradient of RA across the epithelial plane, per se. In addition, RALDH-3 is found in a small population of basal cells in the ventral and lateral epithelium, which expand and contribute to the neuronal lineage following MeBr lesion. Indeed, transduction with a retrovirus expressing a dominant negative form of retinoic acid receptor type alpha blocks the reappearance of mature, olfactory marker protein (OMP) (+) olfactory neurons as compared to empty vector. These results support the notion of a potential role for RA, both in maintaining the spatial organization of the normal olfactory epithelium and in reestablishing the neuronal population during regeneration after injury.

DOI of Published Version



J Comp Neurol. 2012 Nov 1;520(16):3707-26. doi: 10.1002/cne.23124. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of comparative neurology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed