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Journal Article

The Septal Organ of the Rat During Postnatal Development

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Weiler, E., & farbman, A. (2003). The Septal Organ of the Rat During Postnatal Development. Chemical Senses, 28(7), 581-593. doi:10.1093/chemse/bjg047.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-6A38-6
Abstract
The septal organ of Masera (SO) is a small, isolated patch of olfactory epithelium, located in the ventral part of the nasal septum. We investigated in this systematic study the postnatal development of the SO in histological sections of rats at various ages from the day of birth (P1) to P666. The SO-area increases to a maximum at P66–P105, just as the animals reach sexual maturity, and decreases thereafter, significantly however only in males, indicating a limited neurogenetic capacity for regeneration. In contrast, the main olfactory epithelium area continues to expand beyond P300. The modified respiratory epithelium (‘zwischen epithelium’) separating the SO and the main olfactory epithelium contains a few olfactory neurons up to age P66. Its length increases postnatally so that the SO becomes more ventral to the OE. Although the position of the SO relative to other anatomical landmarks changes with development it is consistently located just posterior to the opening of the nasopalatine duct (NPAL). Thus, a possible function of the SO is in sensing chemicals in fluids entering the mouth by licking and then delivered to the nasal cavity via the NPAL; therefore the SO may be involved in social/sexual behavior as is the vomeronasal organ (VNO). We suggest that the SO is a separate accessory olfactory organ with properties somewhat different from both OE and VNO and may exist only in species where the NPAL does not open into the VNO.