Frequency transitions in odor-evoked neural oscillations.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Neuron (Impact Factor: 15.77). 12/2009; 64(5):692-706. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.10.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In many species, sensory stimuli elicit the oscillatory synchronization of groups of neurons. What determines the properties of these oscillations? In the olfactory system of the moth, we found that odors elicited oscillatory synchronization through a neural mechanism like that described in locust and Drosophila. During responses to long odor pulses, oscillations suddenly slowed as net olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) output decreased; thus, stimulus intensity appeared to determine oscillation frequency. However, changing the concentration of the odor had little effect upon oscillatory frequency. Our recordings in vivo and computational models based on these results suggested that the main effect of increasing odor concentration was to recruit additional, less well-tuned ORNs whose firing rates were tightly constrained by adaptation and saturation. Thus, in the periphery, concentration is encoded mainly by the size of the responsive ORN population, and oscillation frequency is set by the adaptation and saturation of this response.

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