Olfactory epithelium from the frog was examined in the living state by light microscopy and in the fixed state by electron microscopy. Particular attention was paid to the layer of cilia and mucus which covers the surface of the epithelium. The olfactory cilia differed from typical cilia in that they (a) arose from bipolar neurons and had centrioles near their basal bodies, (b) were up to 200 microns in length, of which the greater part was a distal segment containing an atypical array of ciliary fibers, (c) were often immotile, (d) had their distal segments arranged in parallel rows near the surface of the mucus, and (e) had many vesicles along their shafts and had splits in the array of fibers in their distal segments. These specializations make the olfactory cilia similar to cilia found on other sensory cells and support the theory that they are the locus where electrical excitation in the olfactory organ is initiated by contact with odorous substances.

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