Active Sampling State Dynamically Enhances Olfactory Bulb Odor Representation

Neuron. 2018 Jun 27;98(6):1214-1228.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.05.016. Epub 2018 May 31.


The olfactory bulb (OB) is the first site of synaptic odor information processing, yet a wealth of contextual and learned information has been described in its activity. To investigate the mechanistic basis of contextual modulation, we use whole-cell recordings to measure odor responses across rapid learning episodes in identified mitral/tufted cells (MTCs). Across these learning episodes, diverse response changes occur already during the first sniff cycle. Motivated mice develop active sniffing strategies across learning that robustly correspond to the odor response changes, resulting in enhanced odor representation. Evoking fast sniffing in different behavioral states demonstrates that response changes during active sampling exceed those predicted from feedforward input alone. Finally, response changes are highly correlated in tufted cells, but not mitral cells, indicating there are cell-type-specific effects on odor representation during active sampling. Altogether, we show that active sampling is strongly associated with enhanced OB responsiveness on rapid timescales.

Keywords: active sampling; behavior; context; learning; olfaction; olfactory bulb; sniffing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology*
  • Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Time Factors