Reciprocal intraglomerular excitation and intra- and interglomerular lateral inhibition between mouse olfactory bulb mitral cells

J Physiol. 2002 Jul 15;542(Pt 2):355-67. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2001.013491.


How patterns of odour-evoked glomerular activity are transformed into patterns of mitral cell action potentials (APs) in the olfactory bulb is determined by the functional connectivity of the cell populations in the bulb. We have used paired whole-cell voltage recordings from olfactory bulb slices to compare the functional connectivity of mitral cells to the known anatomy of the mitral cell network. Both inhibitory and excitatory coupling were observed between pairs of mitral cells. Inhibitory coupling was seen as an increased frequency of small, asynchronous GABAergic IPSPs following APs in the presynaptic cell. Excitatory coupling was short in latency, beginning about 1.3 ms after the presynaptic AP and was mediated by both NMDA and AMPA receptors. Mitral cell pairs were coupled by excitation if and only if their apical dendrites terminated in the same glomerulus. The excitatory coupling between mitral cells resembles conventional fast synaptic transmission in its time course, amplitude and latency, despite the absence of evidence for anatomically defined synapses between mitral cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Receptors, AMPA / physiology
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology


  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate