Olfactory Bulb Habituation to Odor Stimuli

Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
Behavioral Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 2.73). 08/2010; 124(4):490-9. DOI: 10.1037/a0020293
Source: PubMed


Habituation is a simple form of memory, yet its neurobiological mechanisms are only beginning to be understood in mammals. In the olfactory system, the neural correlates of habituation at a fast experimental timescale involving very short intertrial intervals (tens of seconds) have been shown to depend on synaptic adaptation in olfactory cortex. In contrast, behavioral habituation to odorants on a longer timescale with intertrial intervals of several minutes depends on processes in the olfactory bulb, as demonstrated by pharmacological studies. We here show that behavioral habituation to odorants on this longer timescale has a neuronal activity correlate in the olfactory bulb. Spiking responses of mitral cells in the rat olfactory bulb adapt to, and recover from, repeated odorant stimulation with 5-min intertrial intervals with a time course similar to that of behavioral habituation. Moreover, both the behavioral and neuronal effects of odor habituation require functioning N-methyl-d-aspartic acid receptors in the olfactory bulb.

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    • "In humans exposed daily to odors in the home or workplace, habituation to the exposed odor (elevated detection threshold) can last weeks (Dalton and Wysocki, 1996). Electrophysiological recordings in rats using the same stimulus paradigm used in behavioral studies showed that olfactory bulb mitral cells decrease their response to odor stimulation applied with 5-minute intertrial intervals and that this response decrease is dependent on functioning NMDA receptors in the OB (Chaudhury et al., 2010). While the neural correlates of olfactory habituation in mice and rats are thought to be in olfactory bulb and cortex, habituation paradigms studying species-specific interactions in hamsters have located cellular correlates to higher structures such as enthorinal cortex, frontal cortex, and amygdala (Maras and Petrulis, 2008; Petrulis et al., 2005; Petrulis et al., 1998; Petrulis and Eichenbaum, 2003b). "
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    ABSTRACT: Olfactory memory plays an important role in the everyday lives of both animals and humans, even if people generally attend much less than animals to incoming olfactory information. This chapter focuses on recognition memory and learning paradigms useful in characterizing the olfactory memory system. Recent studies on odour recognition memory have exploited findings from cognitive science and neuroscience that employ signal detection analysis. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) studies provide a strong foundation for examining the role of the hippocampus in episodic recollection. In the ROC studies memory cues were composed of a large pool of ordinary household odours (e.g., lemon, thyme) mixed in sand within small plastic cups. Olfactory learning and memory result from brain activity in multiple memory pathways that contribute to different strategies of memory performance.
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    • "Measurement error due either to expectation of outcome or subtle changes in judging when the subject meets a positional criterion would probably not be an important consideration when effect size is large. But in a substantial number of reports the absolute decrease in odor sampling from the first to the last presentation of the same odor is often only 1–5 s (Penn and Potts 1998; Chaudhury et al. 2010; Wesson et al. 2011; Capilla-Gonzalez et al. 2012; Walton et al. 2012). Dishabituation (the increase in sampling a novel odor presented after habituation occurs) is generally observed but the magnitude of dishabituation for both within and between groups may, like habituation, be quite small (e.g., 1–4 s; Caroll et al. 2002; Capilla-Gonzalez et al. 2012; Walton et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: In odor-cued taste avoidance (OCTA), thirsty mice, offered either an odorized nonaversive fluid (S+) or an odorized aversive fluid (S-), quickly learn to use odor to avoid drinking the S-. Acquisition of both odor detection and odor discrimination tasks is very rapid with learning evidenced in most cases by either long response times or total avoidance on the second presentation of the S- stimulus. OCTA is perhaps one of the simplest conditioning procedures for assessing olfaction in mice; it requires only a test box, drinkometer circuit, and thirsty mice accustomed to drinking in the apparatus. Its advantages over the most commonly used alternatives, habituation-dishabituation, and the mouse dig test, are discussed. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Chemical Senses
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    • "A generalization gradient therefore can be constructed by presenting a battery of similar odorants to habituated animals and measuring the pattern of cross-habituation among odorants (Cleland et al., 2002). Interestingly, memory for odorant habituation acquired on short timescales (tens of seconds) is predominantly mediated within piriform cortex (Wilson, 2009), whereas habituation on the minutes timescale is localized within OB (McNamara et al., 2008; Chaudhury et al., 2010). Habituation and cross-habituation memory persistence is sensitive to the degree of habituation, declining over a 10–20 min period in standard protocols (Freedman et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Memories are dynamic physical phenomena with psychometric forms as well as characteristic timescales. Most of our understanding of the cellular mechanisms underlying the neurophysiology of memory, however, derives from one-trial learning paradigms that, while powerful, do not fully embody the gradual, representational, and statistical aspects of cumulative learning. The early olfactory system-particularly olfactory bulb-comprises a reasonably well-understood and experimentally accessible neuronal network with intrinsic plasticity that underlies both one-trial (adult aversive, neonatal) and cumulative (adult appetitive) odor learning. These olfactory circuits employ many of the same molecular and structural mechanisms of memory as, for example, hippocampal circuits following inhibitory avoidance conditioning, but the temporal sequences of post-conditioning molecular events are likely to differ owing to the need to incorporate new information from ongoing learning events into the evolving memory trace. Moreover, the shapes of acquired odor representations, and their gradual transformation over the course of cumulative learning, also can be directly measured, adding an additional representational dimension to the traditional metrics of memory strength and persistence. In this review, we describe some established molecular and structural mechanisms of memory with a focus on the timecourses of post-conditioning molecular processes. We describe the properties of odor learning intrinsic to the olfactory bulb and review the utility of the olfactory system of adult rodents as a memory system in which to study the cellular mechanisms of cumulative learning.
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