Mapping of an olfactory receptor population that projects to a specific region in the rat olfactory bulb

J Comp Neurol. 1986 Aug 1;250(1):93-108. doi: 10.1002/cne.902500109.


An anatomically distinct group of glomeruli, termed the modified glomerular complex (MGC), is present in the posterior dorsomedial portion of the main olfactory bulb. This region has been strongly implicated as part of the pathway that processes odor cues for suckling in neonatal rat pups. We studied the distribution pattern of olfactory receptor neurons that project to the MGC region after ionophoretic injections of WGA-HRP into the olfactory bulbs of 12-day-old rat pups. HRP label was confined to an identifiable localized region in the MGC of the main olfactory bulb. Label extended over 2-7% of the glomerular sheet of the main olfactory bulb, including the MGC. Olfactory receptor neurons within the olfactory epithelium of the nasal cavity were labeled with HRP ipsilateral to the injected side. Maps constructed of the olfactory epithelium revealed that the labeled neurons occurred within topographically defined regions. Anteriorly, labeled olfactory neurons were confined to a narrow strip medial to the dorsal recess, and, more posteriorly, this strip widened medially along the septal wall and laterally onto a limited area on the nasal turbinates. Only a portion of the receptor population within a region was labeled. The boundaries between labeled and unlabeled regions were sharp. These findings support the concept that the olfactory epithelium is an anatomical mosaic in which receptors with different glomerular projections sites are intermingled. In conjunction with previous evidence on the functional specificity of the MGC, and staining of receptor neuron subgroups with monoclonal antibodies, these findings further suggest that olfactory receptor neurons form a functional mosaic within the olfactory epithelium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Transmission*


  • Horseradish Peroxidase