Control of Mitral/Tufted Cell Output by Selective Inhibition among Olfactory Bulb Glomeruli

Neuron. 2016 Jul 20;91(2):397-411. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.001. Epub 2016 Jun 23.


Inhibition is fundamental to information processing by neural circuits. In the olfactory bulb (OB), glomeruli are the functional units for odor information coding, but inhibition among glomeruli is poorly characterized. We used two-photon calcium imaging in anesthetized and awake mice to visualize both odorant-evoked excitation and suppression in OB output neurons (mitral and tufted, MT cells). MT cell response polarity mapped uniformly to discrete OB glomeruli, allowing us to analyze how inhibition shapes OB output relative to the glomerular map. Odorants elicited unique patterns of suppression in only a subset of glomeruli in which such suppression could be detected, and excited and suppressed glomeruli were spatially intermingled. Binary mixture experiments revealed that interglomerular inhibition could suppress excitatory mitral cell responses to odorants. These results reveal that inhibitory OB circuits nonlinearly transform odor representations and support a model of selective and nonrandom inhibition among glomerular ensembles.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*