Olfactory maps and odor images

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2002 Aug;12(4):387-92. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(02)00348-3.


The understanding of neuronal processing of olfactory stimuli has been furthered by genetic studies and specialized imaging of particular neuronal populations. Selective optical imaging of odor-induced presynaptic and postsynaptic glomerular activity in the olfactory bulb/antennal lobe has visualized odorant-responsive receptor repertoires and shown a more confined odor image at the level of projection neurons compared to their olfactory receptor neuron input. Genetic tracing of projection neurons connected to particular glomeruli has revealed a somewhat dispersed spatial map of termination areas for these neurons both in insects and in vertebrates. Modifications of the glomerular odor map have resulted in altered percepts of the corresponding odors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Humans
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / physiology
  • Receptors, Odorant / physiology*
  • Smell / physiology*


  • Receptors, Odorant