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Effects of urea on the olfactory reception in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Lorenzo Gallus, Emiliano Marchesotti, Sonia Scarfì, Andrea Amaroli, Valeria Franceschini, Simone Bettini, Ghulam Abbas, Chiara Gambardella, Sara Ferrando
  • Emiliano Marchesotti
    Department of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy
  • Sonia Scarfì
    Department of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy
  • Andrea Amaroli
    Department of Surgical and Integrated Diagnostic Sciences, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy
  • Valeria Franceschini
    Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • Simone Bettini
    Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • Ghulam Abbas
    Centre of Excellence in Marine Biology, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Chiara Gambardella
    Institute of Marine Sciences-National Research Council, Genoa, Italy
  • Sara Ferrando
    Department of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

Abstract

The effects of uremia on human olfactory functions have been clinically evaluated in various studies, even if to date it is not completely clarified which uremic toxins mediate these processes. Surprisingly, the role of the main molecule involved in uremia, urea indeed, has not been adequately investigated as other possible molecules may also be involved in uremic anosmia. The effects of urea on the olfaction have been evaluated in some clinical studies, but this is the first attempt to determine a direct action of urea on the olfactory epithelium of a vertebrate. Danio rerio adults were exposed to urea in different experiments to assess the effects on olfactory sensitivity and signal transduction. The analysis of the swimming speed has been used to evaluate the response to hypoxanthine 3-N-oxide (H3NO), a molecule that is known to elicit an olfactory-mediated alarm reaction in D. rerio. The presence and distribution of the G protein alpha subunit coupled to the olfactory receptors (Gαolf) has been immunohistochemically investigated in the olfactory epithelium of control and urea-exposed D. rerio. Our findings showed that urea alters the response to H3NO of D. rerio with a quite rapid and reversible effect that appears to be independent from a mere interference of urea on the receptor-ligand binding. The Gαolf protein resulted increases after urea treatment, suggesting an effect of urea on its expression or degradation.

Keywords

Danio rerio; Urea; Olfaction; Hypoxanthine 3-N-oxide; Gαolf

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Submitted: 2016-03-07 17:16:21
Published: 2016-06-27 11:10:15
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Copyright (c) 2016 Lorenzo Gallus, Emiliano Marchesotti, Sonia Scarfì, Andrea Amaroli, Valeria Franceschini, Simone Bettini, Ghulam Abbas, Chiara Gambardella, Sara Ferrando

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