Synaptic integration of olfactory information in mouse anterior olfactory nucleus.
Individual odorants activate only a small fraction of mitral cells in the mouse main olfactory bulb (MOB). Odor mixtures are represented by a combination of activated mitral cells, forming reproducible activation maps in the olfactory bulb. However, how the activation of a cohort of narrowly tuned mitral cells by odor mixtures is read out synaptically by neurons in higher-level olfactory structures, such as the anterior olfactory nucleus (AON), is mostly unknown. In the current study, we used intracellular and extracellular recordings to examine and compare responses of AON neurons and MOB mitral cells to a panel of structurally diverse odorants presented either as mixtures or as individual components. We found that a majority of individual AON neurons could be synaptically activated by several mixtures of structurally dissimilar components and by several dissimilar components in an effective mixture. The suprathreshold response of an AON neuron to an effective mixture often exceeded the sum of its suprathreshold responses to all of the components in that mixture, indicating a nonlinear combinatorial interaction. In contrast to the broad responsiveness of AON neurons, the majority of mitral cells were activated by only one or two components in a single mixture. The broader responsiveness of AON neurons relative to mitral cells suggests that individual AON neurons synaptically integrate several functionally distinct mitral cell inputs.
Lei, H; Mooney, R; Katz, LC
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