Intraglomerular inhibition shapes the strength and temporal structure of glomerular output

J Neurophysiol. 2012 Aug 1;108(3):782-93. doi: 10.1152/jn.00119.2012. Epub 2012 May 16.


Odor signals are transmitted to the olfactory bulb by olfactory nerve (ON) synapses onto mitral/tufted cells (MCs) and external tufted cells (ETCs). ETCs, in turn, provide feedforward excitatory input to MCs. MC and ETCs are also regulated by inhibition: intraglomerular and interglomerular inhibitory circuits act at MC and ETC apical dendrites; granule cells (GCs) inhibit MC lateral dendrites via the MC→GC→MC circuit. We investigated the contribution of intraglomerular inhibition to MC and ETCs responses to ON input. ON input evokes initial excitation followed by early, strongly summating inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) in MCs; this is followed by prolonged, intermittent IPSCs. The N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonist dl-amino-5-phosphovaleric acid, known to suppress GABA release by GCs, reduced late IPSCs but had no effect on early IPSCs. In contrast, selective intraglomerular block of GABA(A) receptors eliminated all early IPSCs and caused a 5-fold increase in ON-evoked MC spiking and a 10-fold increase in response duration. ETCs also receive intraglomerular inhibition; blockade of inhibition doubled ETC spike responses. By reducing ETC excitatory drive and directly inhibiting MCs, intraglomerular inhibition is a key factor shaping the strength and temporal structure of MC responses to sensory input. Sensory input generates an intraglomerular excitation-inhibition sequence that limits MC spike output to a brief temporal window. Glomerular circuits may dynamically regulate this input-output window to optimize MC encoding across sniff-sampled inputs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendrites / drug effects
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / drug effects
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • GABA-A Receptor Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Inhibitory Postsynaptic Potentials / drug effects
  • Inhibitory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Olfactory Bulb / drug effects
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Valine / analogs & derivatives
  • Valine / pharmacology


  • GABA-A Receptor Antagonists
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • 2-amino-5-phosphopentanoic acid
  • Valine