Binaral interactions in the rat piriform cortex

J Neurophysiol. 1997 Jul;78(1):160-9. doi: 10.1152/jn.1997.78.1.160.


Single-unit recordings were made from layer II/III anterior piriform cortex (aPCX) neurons in adult Wistar rats to examine odor response patterns to unilaterally and bilaterally delivered stimuli. Isoamyl acetate odor stimulation was presented either unilaterally through tubes inserted into the external nares, or bilaterally during unilateral olfactory bulb lidocaine infusions. Olfactory bulb multiunit or slow-wave activity was recorded simultaneously bilaterally to monitor selectivity of unilateral odor stimulation. The results demonstrate that 1) commissural input to aPCX neurons is sufficient to drive odor responses, and 2) aPCX neurons can be classified on the basis of spatial receptive field type. These receptive fields include cells that respond 1) selectively to ipsilateral stimulation, 2) selectively to contralateral stimulation, 3) to either ipsilateral or contralateral stimulation, and 4) selectively to bilateral stimulation. The potential functions of binaral convergence in the piriform cortex are discussed, and may include enhancement of perceived odor intensity and bilateral access to olfactory memory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Animals
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Lidocaine
  • Male
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Pathways / drug effects
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Lidocaine