Habituation of odor responses in the rat anterior piriform cortex

J Neurophysiol. 1998 Mar;79(3):1425-40. doi: 10.1152/jn.1998.79.3.1425.


Simultaneous recordings of main olfactory bulb (MOB) and anterior piriform cortex (aPCX) neuron responses to repeated and prolonged odor pulses were examined in freely breathing, urethan-anesthetized rats. Comparisons of odor responses were made between multi-unit recordings of MOB activity and single-unit extracellular and intracellular recordings of Layer II/III aPCX neurons. Odor stimuli consisted of either 2-s pulses repeated at 30-s intervals or a single, prolonged 50-s stimulus. Respiration rate was monitored throughout. MOB and aPCX neuron responses to odor were quantified both through firing frequency and through the temporal patterning of firing over the respiratory cycle. The results demonstrate that aPCX neurons habituate significantly more (faster) than MOB neurons with both repeated and prolonged stimulation paradigms. This enhanced habituation is expressed as both a decrease in aPCX firing despite maintained odor-evoked MOB input and as a decrease in aPCX respiratory cycle entrainment despite maintained MOB cyclic input. Intracellular aPCX recordings suggest that several mechanisms may be involved in this experience-induced change in aPCX function, including 1) decreased excitatory driveof aPCX neurons, 2) decreased excitability of aPCX neurons,and/or 3) enhancement in odor-evoked inhibition of aPCX neurons. These studies provide the initial basis for understanding the mechanisms of nonassociative plasticity in olfactory cortex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Rats
  • Reaction Time