Olfactory Bulb

Gordon M. Shepherd, Michele Migliore and David C. Willhite

in Handbook of Brain Microcircuits

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780195389883
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965137 | DOI:
Olfactory Bulb

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  • Development of the Nervous System


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In all vertebrates the olfactory bulb receives the output from olfactory receptor cells and carries out the initial steps of synaptic processing. Odor stimulation differentially activates olfactory receptor cell subsets, expressing one of hundreds of olfactory receptors. This sets up spatial activity patterns (“odor images”) in the glomerular layer; which are first processed through intraglomerular dendrodendritic microcircuits and interglomerular microcircuits. The patterns are then subjected to lateral inhibition through dendrodendritic synapses between mitral/tufted projection neurons and granule cell interneurons, organized in widely distributed clusters (glomerular units), as demonstrated by both experiment and computational models. The mitral/tufted cell output to olfactory cortex is thus shaped by both spatial and temporal microcircuit interactions, modulated by centrifugal fibers from olfactory cortex brainstem and forebrain systems. Processing of odor images through olfactory bulb microcircuits is thus crucial to the neural basis of the perception of smell.

Chapter.  4012 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Development of the Nervous System

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