Odor concentration change coding in the olfactory bulb

Ana Parabucki, Alexander Bizer, Genela Morris, Antonio E. Munoz, Avinash D.S. Bala, Matthew Smear, Roman Shusterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dynamical changes in the environment strongly impact our perception. Likewise, sensory systems preferentially represent stimulus changes, enhancing temporal contrast. In olfaction, odor concentration changes across consecutive inhalations (∆C t ) can guide odor source localization, yet the neural representation of ∆C t has not been studied in vertebrates. We have found that, in the mouse olfactory bulb, a subset of mitral/tufted (M/T) cells represents C t , enhancing the contrast between different concentrations. These concentration change responses are direction selective: they respond either to increments or decrements of concentration, reminiscent of ON and OFF selectivity in the retina. This contrast enhancement scales with the magnitude, but not the duration of the concentration step. Further, ∆C t can be read out from the total spike count per sniff, unlike odor identity and intensity, which are represented by fast temporal spike patterns. Our results demonstrate that a subset of M/T cells represents ∆C t , providing a signal that may instruct navigational decisions in downstream olfactory circuits.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0396-18.2019
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Israel Science Foundation Grants 816/14 and 2212/14 (to R.S.), the Marie Curie Career Integration Grant 334341 (to R.S.), and the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Grant R56DC015584 (to R.S. and M.S.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Parabucki et al.


  • Contrast
  • Dynamical stimulus
  • Electrophysiology
  • Mitral and tufted cells
  • Olfactory bulb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)


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