Spatiotemporal dynamics of odor responses in the lateral and dorsal olfactory bulb

PLoS Biol. 2019 Sep 18;17(9):e3000409. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000409. eCollection 2019 Sep.


The mammalian olfactory bulb (OB) plays an essential role in odor processing during the perception of smell. Optical imaging of the OB has proven to be a key tool in elucidating the spatial odor mapping and temporal dynamics that underlie higher-order odor processing. Much is known about the activation of olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) glomerular responses in the dorsal olfactory bulb (dOB) during odor presentation. However, the dorsal bulb provides access to only approximately 25% of all glomeruli, and little is known about how the lateral bulb functions during this critical process. Here, we report, for the first time, simultaneous measurements of OSN glomerular activity from both the dOB and the lateral olfactory bulb (lOB), thus describing odor-specific spatial mapping and the temporal dynamics of olfactory input to both the dorsal and lateral bulb. Odor responses in the lateral bulb tended to be most prominent in the dorso-lateral (D-L) region. Lateral glomeruli became active in a dorso-ventral (D-V) sequence upon odor inhalation, unlike the anterio-posterior (A-P) activity wave typical of the dorsal glomeruli. Across the entire D-L bulb, the spatial organization of these dynamics can be explained neither by the purely mechanosensitive dynamics (to breathing clean air) nor by the response amplitudes across glomeruli. Instead, these dynamics can be explained by a combination of zonal receptor distributions, associated OB projections, and air flow paths across the epithelium upon inhalation. Remarkably, we also found that a subset of OSN glomeruli in the lOB was highly sensitive to extranasal air pressure changes, a response type that has not been reported in dorsal glomeruli.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Bulb / diagnostic imaging
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Olfactory Perception / physiology*
  • Smell