Synchronized oscillatory discharges of mitral/tufted cells with different molecular receptive ranges in the rabbit olfactory bulb

J Neurophysiol. 1999 Oct;82(4):1786-92. doi: 10.1152/jn.1999.82.4.1786.


Individual glomeruli in the mammalian olfactory bulb represent a single or a few type(s) of odorant receptors. Signals from different types of receptors are thus sorted out into different glomeruli. How does the neuronal circuit in the olfactory bulb contribute to the combination and integration of signals received by different glomeruli? Here we examined electrophysiologically whether there were functional interactions between mitral/tufted cells associated with different glomeruli in the rabbit olfactory bulb. First, we made simultaneous recordings of extracellular single-unit spike responses of mitral/tufted cells and oscillatory local field potentials in the dorsomedial fatty acid-responsive region of the olfactory bulb in urethan-anesthetized rabbits. Using periodic artificial inhalation, the olfactory epithelium was stimulated with a homologous series of n-fatty acids or n-aliphatic aldehydes. The odor-evoked spike discharges of mitral/tufted cells tended to phase-lock to the oscillatory local field potential, suggesting that spike discharges of many cells occur synchronously during odor stimulation. We then made simultaneous recordings of spike discharges from pairs of mitral/tufted cells located 300-500 microm apart and performed a cross-correlation analysis of their spike responses to odor stimulation. In approximately 27% of cell pairs examined, two cells with distinct molecular receptive ranges showed synchronized oscillatory discharges when olfactory epithelium was stimulated with one or a mixture of odorant(s) effective in activating both. The results suggest that the neuronal circuit in the olfactory bulb causes synchronized spike discharges of specific pairs of mitral/tufted cells associated with different glomeruli and the synchronization of odor-evoked spike discharges may contribute to the temporal binding of signals derived from different types of odorant receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aldehydes*
  • Animals
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified*
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology
  • Oscillometry
  • Rabbits
  • Reaction Time
  • Receptors, Odorant / physiology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Aldehydes
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Receptors, Odorant