Action potential propagation in mitral cell lateral dendrites is decremental and controls recurrent and lateral inhibition in the mammalian olfactory bulb

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jan 2;98(1):319-24. doi: 10.1073/pnas.98.1.319.


In the mammalian main olfactory bulb (MOB), the release of glutamate from lateral dendrites of mitral cells onto the dendrites of granule cells evokes recurrent and lateral inhibition of mitral cell activity. Whole-cell voltage recordings in the mouse MOB in vivo and in vitro show that recurrent and lateral inhibition together control the number, duration, and onset of odor-evoked action potential (AP) firing in mitral cells. APs in mitral cells propagate into the lateral dendrites and evoke a transient increase in dendritic calcium concentration ([Ca2+]), which is decremental with distance from the soma, and increases with AP number. These results suggest that the extent of AP propagation in lateral dendrites of mitral cells, along with the concomitant dendritic Ca(2+) transient, controls the amplitude of lateral and recurrent inhibition and thus is a critical determinant of odor-specific AP patterns in the MOB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Bicuculline / pharmacology
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Dendrites / drug effects
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Fluorescence
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / drug effects
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / cytology
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / drug effects
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Pentanols / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Smell / drug effects
  • Smell / physiology*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Pentanols
  • amyl acetate
  • Calcium
  • Bicuculline