Spiking frequency versus odorant concentration in olfactory receptor neurons

Biosystems. 2000 Oct-Dec;58(1-3):133-41. doi: 10.1016/s0303-2647(00)00116-7.


The spiking response of receptor neurons to various odorants has been analyzed at different concentrations. The interspike intervals were measured extracellularly before, during and after the stimulation from the olfactory epithelium of the frog Rana ridibunda. First, a quantitative method was developed to distinguish the spikes in the response from the spontaneous activity. Then, the response intensity, characterized by its median instantaneous frequency, was determined. Finally, based on statistical analyses, this characteristic was related to the concentration and quality of the odorant stimulus. It was found that the olfactory neuron is characterized by a low modulation in frequency and a short range of discriminated intensities. The significance of the results is discussed from both a biological and a modelling point of view.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / physiology*