It has been suggested that an inhibitory ECM containing chondroitin-6- sulfate proteoglycan (C-6S-PG) and tenascin (TN), which appears homogeneously in the core of the OB following afferent fiber arrival, helps position ingrowing olfactory axons in the prospective glomerular layer (GL) (Gonzalez and Silver, 1992; Gonzalez et al., 1993). Later, a similar ECM associated with astrocytes envelopes axonal glomeruli in rings, suggesting that axons may control the precise ECM patterning. The question remains whether formation of the matrix ring pattern around each axonal glomerulus is an intrinsic property of the matrix- producing cells or a response to developing axons. To determine if the organization of glial associated matrix in the OB was dependent on the presence of axons, we studied the effect of unilateral injection of a neurotoxin into the olfactory epithelium of postnatal rats. Using olfactory marker protein (OMP), beta-tubulin (TUJ1) antibodies, and Nissl staining, we found that at 5 and 10 d following neurotoxin administration the number of glomeruli decreased by an average of 77.0% in the injected side. At the same time, we observed that the TN/C-6S-PG rings and periglomerular cells were present only around the remaining small number of glomeruli. Elsewhere, ECM expression and the periglomerular cell configuration were more disorganized in the GL. The pattern of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) did not change significantly. We found that OMP staining, beta-tubulin immunoreactivity, and periglomerular cells reformed in a glomerular- like pattern as the olfactory axons reformed by 20 d. As the glomeruli- shaped collection of axon terminals reappeared, TN/C-6S-PG immunoreactivity also reoccurred in rings around the new axon bundles. Again, at this later stage, the expression of GFAP was similar in both sides. In our previous study (Gonzalez et al., 1993), we suggested that the initial gross positioning of glomeruli may be controlled by the overall positioning of TN/C-6S-PG. In the present study, we suggest that the formation of TN/C-6S-PG in the precise ring pattern around glomeruli appears to be dependent upon the presence of bundled olfactory axons. Various mechanisms are discussed that may explain the dynamic change in ECM expression that occurs inside the glomerulus after the neurotoxin treatment.