Olfactory learning modifies the expression of odour-induced oscillatory responses in the gamma (60-90 Hz) and beta (15-40 Hz) bands in the rat olfactory bulb

Eur J Neurosci. 2003 Jan;17(2):350-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.2003.02445.x.


This study addressed the question of the possible functional relevance of two different oscillatory activities, beta and gamma (15-40 and 60-90 Hz, respectively) for perception and memory processes in olfactory areas of mammals. Local field potentials were recorded near relay olfactory bulb neurons while rats performed an olfactory discrimination task. Signals reflected the mass activity from this region and characteristics of oscillatory activities were used as an index of local synchrony. Beta and gamma oscillatory activities were quantified by time-frequency methods before during and after odour sampling. In rats early in their training, olfactory sampling was associated with a significant decrease in power in the gamma band in parallel with a weak but significant increase in the beta band (centred on 27 Hz). Several days later, in well-trained rats, the gamma oscillatory depression was significantly enhanced both in duration and amplitude. It appeared within the 500 ms time period preceding odour onset and was further reduced during the odour period. Concurrently the beta oscillatory response (now centred on 24 Hz) during odour sampling was amplified by a twofold factor. The beta band response was modulated according to the chemical nature of the stimuli and rat's behavioural response. This study showed for the first time that odour sampling in behaving animals is associated with a clear shift in the olfactory bulb neuronal activity from a gamma to a beta oscillatory regime. Moreover, the data stress the importance of studying the odour-induced beta activity and its relation to perception and memory.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Beta Rhythm
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Smell / physiology*