Functional organization of glomerular maps in the mouse accessory olfactory bulb

Nat Neurosci. 2014 Jul;17(7):953-61. doi: 10.1038/nn.3738. Epub 2014 Jun 1.


The mammalian accessory olfactory system extracts information about species, sex and individual identity from social odors, but its functional organization remains unclear. We imaged presynaptic Ca(2+) signals in vomeronasal inputs to the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) during peripheral stimulation using light sheet microscopy. Urine- and steroid-responsive glomeruli densely innervated the anterior AOB. Glomerular activity maps for sexually mature female mouse urine overlapped maps for juvenile and/or gonadectomized urine of both sexes, whereas maps for sexually mature male urine were highly distinct. Further spatial analysis revealed a complicated organization involving selective juxtaposition and dispersal of functionally grouped glomerular classes. Glomeruli that were similarly tuned to urines were often closely associated, whereas more disparately tuned glomeruli were selectively dispersed. Maps to a panel of sulfated steroid odorants identified tightly juxtaposed groups that were disparately tuned and dispersed groups that were similarly tuned. These results reveal a modular, nonchemotopic spatial organization in the AOB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinase Type II / genetics
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neuroimaging
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Bulb / anatomy & histology
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Smell / genetics
  • Smell / physiology
  • Steroids / pharmacology
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Urine / chemistry


  • Steroids
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinase Type II