Repeated exposure to olfactory ligands (odorants) increased peripheral olfactory sensitivity in mice. For two unrelated ligands, androstenone and isovaleric acid, induction of olfactory sensitivity was odorant-specific and occurred only in inbred strains that initially had low sensitivity to the exposure odorant. These data demonstrate stimulus-induced plasticity in a sensory receptor cell, suggesting a form of stimulus-controlled gene expression. Induction with two unrelated odorants implies that olfactory induction is a general phenomenon that may occur in a large fraction of the human population.
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