Although it has been known for decades that the mammalian olfactory bulb receives a substantial number of centrifugal inputs from other regions of the brain, relatively few data have been available on the function of the centrifugal olfactory system. Knowing the role of the centrifugal projection and how it works is of critical importance to fully understanding olfaction. The centrifugal fibers can be classified into two groups, a group that release neuromodulators, such as noradrenaline, serotonin, or acetylcholine, and a group originating in the olfactory cortex. Accumulating evidence suggests that centrifugal neuromodulatory inputs are associated with acquisition of odor memory. Because the distribution of the terminals on these fibers is diffuse and widespread, the neuromodulatory inputs must affect diverse subsets of bulbar neurons at the same time. In contrast, knowledge of the role of centrifugal fibers from the olfactory cortical areas is limited. Judging from recent morphological evidence, these fibers may modify the activity of neurons located in sparse and discrete loci in the olfactory bulb. Given the modular organization of the olfactory bulb, centrifugal fibers from the olfactory cortex may help coordinate the activities of restricted subsets of neurons belonging to distinct functional modules in an odor-specific manner. Because the olfactory cortex receives inputs from limbic and neocortical areas in addition to inputs from the bulb, the centrifugal inputs from the cortex can modulate odor processing in the bulb in response to non-olfactory as well as olfactory cues.