Pyramidal cells in piriform cortex receive convergent input from distinct olfactory bulb glomeruli.

Center for Neural Circuits and Behavior, Neuroscience Department, School of Medicine, Neurobiology Section, Division of Biology, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0634, USA.
Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 10/2010; 30(42):14255-60. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2747-10.2010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Pyramidal cells in piriform cortex integrate sensory information from multiple olfactory bulb mitral and tufted (M/T) cells. However, whether M/T cells belonging to different olfactory bulb glomeruli converge onto individual cortical cells is unclear. Here we use calcium imaging in an olfactory bulb-cortex slice preparation to provide direct evidence that neurons in piriform cortex receive convergent synaptic input from different glomeruli. We show that the combined activity of distinct glomerular pathways recruits ensembles of pyramidal cells that are not activated by the individual pathways alone. This cooperative recruitment of cortical neurons only occurs over a narrow time window and is a feature intrinsic to the olfactory cortex that can be explained by the integration of converging, subthreshold synaptic input. Cooperative recruitment enhances the differences between cortical representations of partially overlapping input patterns and may contribute to the initial steps of olfactory discrimination.

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