Spatio-temporal dynamics of odor representations in the mammalian olfactory bulb

Neuron. 2002 Apr 11;34(2):301-15. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(02)00644-x.


We explored the spatio-temporal dynamics of odor-evoked activity in the rat and mouse main olfactory bulb (MOB) using voltage-sensitive dye imaging (VSDI) with a new probe. The high temporal resolution of VSDI revealed odor-specific sequences of glomerular activation. Increasing odor concentrations reduced response latencies, increased response amplitudes, and recruited new glomerular units. However, the sequence of glomerular activation was maintained. Furthermore, we found distributed MOB activity locked to the nasal respiration cycle. The spatial distribution of its amplitude and phase was heterogeneous and changed by sensory input in an odor-specific manner. Our data show that in the mammalian olfactory bulb, odor identity and concentration are represented by spatio-temporal patterns, rather than spatial patterns alone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artifacts
  • Electrophysiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Oscillometry
  • Pyrazoles
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena
  • Thiazoles
  • Time Factors


  • Pyrazoles
  • RH1838
  • Thiazoles