Odor representations in mammalian cortical circuits

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2010 Jun;20(3):328-31. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2010.02.004. Epub 2010 Mar 5.


Spatial and temporal activity patterns of olfactory bulb projection neurons underlie the initial representations of odors in the brain. However, olfactory perception ultimately requires the integration of olfactory bulb output in higher cortical brain regions. Recent studies reveal that odor representations are sparse and highly distributed in the rodent primary olfactory (piriform) cortex. Furthermore, odor-evoked inhibition is far more widespread and broadly tuned than excitation in piriform cortex pyramidal cells. Other recent studies highlight how olfactory sensory inputs are integrated within pyramidal cell dendrites and that feedback projections from piriform cortex to olfactory bulb interneurons are a source of synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Efferent Pathways / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Smell / physiology*