Mitral cell spike synchrony modulated by dendrodendritic synapse location

Front Comput Neurosci. 2012 Jan 30;6:3. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2012.00003. eCollection 2012.


On their long lateral dendrites, mitral cells of the olfactory bulb form dendrodendritic synapses with large populations of granule cell interneurons. The mitral-granule cell microcircuit operating through these reciprocal synapses has been implicated in inducing synchrony between mitral cells. However, the specific mechanisms of mitral cell synchrony operating through this microcircuit are largely unknown and are complicated by the finding that distal inhibition on the lateral dendrites does not modulate mitral cell spikes. In order to gain insight into how this circuit synchronizes mitral cells within its spatial constraints, we built on a reduced circuit model of biophysically realistic multi-compartment mitral and granule cells to explore systematically the roles of dendrodendritic synapse location and mitral cell separation on synchrony. The simulations showed that mitral cells can synchronize when separated at arbitrary distances through a shared set of granule cells, but synchrony is optimally attained when shared granule cells form two balanced subsets, each subset clustered near to a soma of the mitral cell pairs. Another constraint for synchrony is that the input magnitude must be balanced. When adjusting the input magnitude driving a particular mitral cell relative to another, the mitral-granule cell circuit served to normalize spike rates of the mitral cells while inducing a phase shift or delay in the more weakly driven cell. This shift in phase is absent when the granule cells are removed from the circuit. Our results indicate that the specific distribution of dendrodendritic synaptic clusters is critical for optimal synchronization of mitral cell spikes in response to their odor input.

Keywords: backpropagation; dendritic processing; mitral cells; olfaction; synchrony.