Neuronal circuits and computations: pattern decorrelation in the olfactory bulb

FEBS Lett. 2014 Aug 1;588(15):2504-13. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2014.05.055. Epub 2014 Jun 6.


Neuronal circuits in the olfactory bulb transform odor-evoked activity patterns across the input channels, the olfactory glomeruli, into distributed activity patterns across the output neurons, the mitral cells. One computation associated with this transformation is a decorrelation of activity patterns representing similar odors. Such a decorrelation has various benefits for the classification and storage of information by associative networks in higher brain areas. Experimental results from adult zebrafish show that pattern decorrelation involves a redistribution of activity across the population of mitral cells. These observations imply that pattern decorrelation cannot be explained by a global scaling mechanism but that it depends on interactions between distinct subsets of neurons in the network. This article reviews insights into the network mechanism underlying pattern decorrelation and discusses recent results that link pattern decorrelation in the olfactory bulb to odor discrimination behavior.

Keywords: Activity pattern; Behavior; Computation; Decorrelation; Olfactory bulb; Zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Smell
  • Zebrafish