Neuromodulation of olfactory transformations

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2016 Oct;40:170-177. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2016.07.006. Epub 2016 Aug 24.


The olfactory bulb and piriform cortex are the best studied structures of the mammalian olfactory system and are heavily innervated by extrinsic neuromodulatory inputs. The state-dependent release of acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and other neuromodulators into these olfactory structures alters a constellation of physiological parameters in neurons and synapses that together modify the computations performed on sensory signals. These modifications affect the specificity, detectability, discriminability, and other properties of odor representations and thereby govern perceptual performance. Whereas different neuromodulators have distinct cellular effects, and tend to be associated with nominally different functions, it also is clear that these purported functions overlap substantially, and that ad hoc hypotheses regarding the roles of particular neuromodulators may have reached the limits of their usefulness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Smell / physiology


  • Acetylcholine