Objectives: To investigate the cellular distribution and relative intensity of the immunoreactivity associated with the expression of sodium, potassium-adenosine triphosphatase (Na, K-ATPase) in cells of the olfactory mucosa. Second, changes in the activity of this enzyme in the olfactory mucosa are correlated with changes in the circulating corticosteroid aldosterone. Methods: Combination of immunohistochemical and biochemical techniques were employed to examine the olfactory Na, K-ATPase. Results: Within the olfactory epithelium, the Na, K-ATPase immunoreactivity was greatest at the supranuclear region of sustentacular cells and/or dendrites of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). Cell bodies of ORNs demonstrated moderate immunoreactivity, whereas the duct cells of Bowman's gland exhibited moderate to intense immunoreactivity. Acinar cells of the Bowman's gland were the most intensely stained components of the lamina propria, exhibiting strong immunoreactivity at the basolateral plasma membrane domains of the acinar cells and less within the cytoplasm. Binding of ouabain, a specific inhibitor of Na, K-ATPase, was significantly elevated for aldosterone- injected versus sham-injected controls. Conclusion: These results suggest that olfactory Na, K-ATPase is regulated by the systemic corticosteroid aldosterone. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that corticosteroids regulate olfactory secretion.
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