The relation between stimulus and response in olfactory receptor cells of the tiger salamander

J Physiol. 1993 Aug;468:1-10. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1993.sp019756.


1. Olfactory receptor cells were isolated from the adult tiger salamander Ambystoma tigrinum and the current in response to odorant stimuli was measured with the whole-cell voltage-clamp technique while odorants at known concentrations were rapidly applied for controlled exposure times. 2. Three odorants, cineole, isoamyl acetate and acetophenone, were first applied at 5 x 10(-4) M. Out of forty-nine cells tested, 53% responded to one odorant only, 22% to two odorants and 25% to all three odorants. 3. The amplitude of the current in response to a given odorant concentration was found to be dependent on the duration of the odorant stimulus and reached a saturating peak value at 1.2 s of stimulus duration. 4. The current measured at the peak of the response for odorant steps of 1.2 s as a function of odorant concentration was well described by the Hill equation for the three odorants with Hill coefficients higher than 1 and K1/2 (odorant concentration needed to activate half the maximal current) ranging from 3 x 10(-6) to 9 x 10(-5) M. 5. It is concluded that olfactory receptor cells are broadly tuned and have a low apparent affinity for odorants, integrate stimulus information over time, and have a narrow dynamic range.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetophenones / administration & dosage
  • Acetophenones / pharmacology
  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Ambystoma / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cyclohexanols*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eucalyptol
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Menthol / administration & dosage
  • Menthol / analogs & derivatives
  • Menthol / pharmacology
  • Monoterpenes*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / drug effects
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / physiology*
  • Pentanols / administration & dosage
  • Pentanols / pharmacology
  • Terpenes*


  • Acetophenones
  • Cyclohexanols
  • Monoterpenes
  • Pentanols
  • Terpenes
  • Menthol
  • acetophenone
  • Eucalyptol
  • isoamyl acetate