Olfaction has adaptive value for rodents as it is essential for feeding and mating, the establishment of social and territorial relationships, or the detection of potential predators, among others (Apfelbach et al., 2005). Sensory input from the olfactory mucosa is first processed in the main olfactory bulb (MOB), a telencephalic structure that exhibits neurogenesis during the lifespan of the animal. Changes in MOB circuitry due to neuronal dysfunction or changes in interneuron turnover rate affect olfactory performance in different ways (Fleming et al., 2008; Breton-Provencher et al., 2009; Attems et al., 2014). Alterations in adult MOB neurogenesis, in particular, result in changes in odorant discrimination which can be assayed in habituation-dishabituation behavioral paradigms (Mouret et al., 2009; Delgado et al., 2014). Here, we present a simple protocol for the quantitative assessment of two olfactory tasks that can be used to detect neurogenic alterations in the MOB (Delgado et al., 2014). The procedure has been optimized to require little time and can, therefore, be used to analyze genetically modified mice that are housed in an isolated specific pathogen-free (SPF) mouse facility.
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