The role of distal dendritic gap junctions in synchronization of mitral cell axonal output

J Comput Neurosci. Mar-Apr 2005;18(2):151-61. doi: 10.1007/s10827-005-6556-1.


One of the first and most important stages of odor processing occurs in the glomerular units of the olfactory bulb and most likely involves mitral cell synchronization. Using a detailed model constrained by a number of experimental findings, we show how the intercellular coupling mediated by intraglomerular gap junctions (GJs) in the tuft dendrites could play a major role in sychronization of mitral cell action potential output in spite of their distal dendritic location. The model suggests that the high input resistance and active properties of the fine tuft dendrites are instrumental in generating local spike synchronization and an efficient forward and backpropagation of action potentials between the tuft and the soma. The model also gives insight into the physiological significance of long primary dendrites in mitral cells, and provides evidence against the use of reduced single compartmental models to investigate network properties of cortical pyramidal neurons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Gap Junctions / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology*