Volumetric analysis and morphological assessment of the ascending olfactory pathway in an elasmobranch and a teleost using diceCT

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The size (volume or mass) of the olfactory bulbs in relation to the whole brain has been used as a neuroanatomical proxy for olfactory capability in a range of vertebrates, including fishes. Here, we use diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced computed tomography (diceCT) to test the value of this novel bioimaging technique for generating accurate measurements of the relative volume of the main olfactory brain areas (olfactory bulbs, peduncles, and telencephalon) and to describe the morphological organisation of the ascending olfactory pathway in model fish species from two taxa, the brownbanded bamboo shark Chiloscyllium punctatum and the common goldfish Carassius auratus. We also describe the arrangement of primary projections to the olfactory bulb and secondary projections to the telencephalon in both species. Our results identified substantially larger olfactory bulbs and telencephalon in C. punctatum compared to C. auratus (comprising approximately 5.2% vs. 1.8%, and 51.8% vs. 11.8% of the total brain volume, respectively), reflecting differences between taxa, but also possibly in the role of olfaction in the sensory ecology of these species. We identified segregated primary projections to the bulbs, associated with a compartmentalised olfactory bulb in C. punctatum, which supports previous findings in elasmobranch fishes. DiceCT imaging has been crucial for visualising differences in the morphological organisation of the olfactory system of both model species. We consider comparative neuroanatomical studies between representative species of both elasmobranch and teleost fish groups are fundamental to further our understanding of the evolution of the olfactory system in early vertebrates and the neural basis of olfactory abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2347-2375
Number of pages29
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


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