Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Rona J. Delay



In humans, advanced malignancies are often targeted with broad-spectrum cytotoxic drugs that engender several detrimental side effects, in addition to their primary usage for eradicating cancerous cells. One of the lesser-researched of these effects, histological distortion of the olfactory system impedes a patient's ability to smell, perceive flavor, and ultimately may interfere with their nutritional intake and recovery from chemotherapy. Recent studies have indicated that cytotoxic drugs can damage gustatory epithelia immediately following administration (Mukherjee & Delay, 2011, 2013). We sought to observe the histological effects that cyclophosphamide (CYP), one of the oldest and most popular alkylating antineoplastic agents, may have on the murine main olfactory epithelium (MOE) and vomeronasal organ (VNO). We utilized two immunohistochemical antibodies to label cells in the olfactory epithelia: anti-Ki67, a marker strictly associated with cell proliferation; and, anti-Keratin 5, a marker for the cytoskeleton of horizontal basal cells. Twenty-eight C57BL/6 mice were administered a single intraperitoneal injection of CYP (75 mg/kg), while 20 control mice were administered saline, all at approximately seven weeks of age. Mice were euthanized at days one, two, six, 14, 30, and 45 post injection; subsequently, they were perfused with 4% paraformaldehyde, decalcified, cryoprotected, cryosectioned, and incubated with anti-Ki67 and anti-Keratin 5 antibodies, sequentially. Quantification results by fluorescent imaging of labeled sections revealed a significant decrease in the number of proliferative cells in the MOE and VNO of CYP-injected mice within the first 10 days post injection, followed by a compensatory period of increased cell proliferation through day 45 post injection, compared to saline-injected mice. Co-localization of horizontal basal cells and proliferative cells in the MOE and VNO of CYP-injected mice was significantly amplified at approximately 14 and 45 days post injection, respectively, compared to saline-injected mice. Our results suggest that administration of CYP can rapidly depress the populations of proliferative cells in the murine MOE and VNO; consequently, horizontal basal cells may afford restoration of the proliferative cell populations in the murine MOE and VNO, 14 to 45 days post injection, respectively.



Number of Pages

93 p.