Development of the olfactory nerve in the clawed frog, Xenopus laevis: II. Effects of hypothyroidism

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12 Scopus citations


Quantitative and morphological data were obtained on developing olfactory axons in normal and hypothyroid larvae of the African clawed frog Xenopus laevis. Hypothyroid larvae were produced by rearing the animals, beginning at stage 48, in a 0.01% solution of propylthiouracil (PTU), a treatment that blocks synthesis of thyroid hormone. These PTU‐treated larvae were compared to their age‐matched siblings when these siblings reached stage 52 (premetamorphic larvae; prior to synthesis of thyroid hormone), stage 57 (late prometamorphic larvae; after the onset of thyroid hormone synthesis), or stage 58 (larvae at the onset of metamorphic climax; thyroid hormone levels continue to rise). The number of olfactory axons did not differ between stage 52 control animals and the age‐matched, PTU‐treated animals, but there were only about half the number of axons in the PTU‐treated animals that were age‐matched to the stage 57 or 58 controls. Thus, PTU had no effect on olfactory axon number prior to the normal rise in thyroid hormone levels. But PTU significantly reduced the normal increase in olfactory axon number compared to stage 58 control larvae, whose thyroid hormone levels are high. While PTU also produced some changes in several other body measurements, the effect on the olfactory axons was the most consistent and prominent. The results presented here support our previous findings that thyroid hormone plays a significant role in the development of the olfactory system in Xenopus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-263
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 15 1992


  • metamorphosis
  • olfactory axons
  • olfactory receptor cells
  • propylthiouracil
  • thyroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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