The trajectory of mitral cell axons in the rabbit olfactory cortex revealed by intracellular HRP injection

J Comp Neurol. 1984 Nov 20;230(1):77-87. doi: 10.1002/cne.902300107.


The projection of the axon and axon collaterals of mitral cells to the olfactory cortex was studied in the rabbit by intracellular staining with horseradish peroxidase (HRP). The stained mitral cell axons were reconstructed from the soma to the most caudal portion of the anterior piriform cortex (aPC). Single mitral cells projected to cytoarchitectonically different areas of the olfactory cortex, i.e., the anterior olfactory nucleus (AON), the aPC, and the olfactory tubercle (OT). All the stained mitrall cells projected to both the AON and the aPC, and about one-fourth of the mitral cells projected to the OT. At the surface of the AON and the aPC, the main axon running in the lateral olfactory tract (LOT) gave off several thin collaterals at various intervals. The collaterals did not project evenly in each area but typically formed patchy terminal arbors which tended to be elongated anteroposteriorly. In both the AON and the aPC, each single mitral cell formed several terminal arbors in layer Ia. The axon collaterals innervating the OT showed two types of projection patterns. One type of collateral was emitted from the main axon within the olfactory bulb, coursed through the ventro-medial portion of the olfactory peduncle without joining the main mass of the LOT and terminated mainly in the medial portion of the OT. The other type of collateral emerged from the main axon in the LOT, coursed medioposteriorly, and projected to the lateral portion of the OT. Although individual mitral cells projected to several parts of the olfactory cortex, the fact that they made dense terminal arbors in specific places in each area suggests that the bulbocortical connections are not diffuse but highly selective.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Injections
  • Intracellular Fluid
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / ultrastructure
  • Rabbits
  • Synaptic Transmission*


  • Horseradish Peroxidase