Multiday Recordings from Olfactory Bulb Neurons in Awake Freely Moving Rats: Spatially and Temporally Organized Variability in Odorant Response Properties
Lateral inhibitory circuits are found throughout the nervous system. While the neuroanatomical basis for lateral inhibitory interactions exists in the olfactory bulb of Norway rats, there has been no direct demonstration of lateral inhibition in the responses of olfactory bulb output neurons to odor stimulation. In this report we recorded the extracellular activity of a large number of sequentially recorded mitral/tufted cells in response to odor stimuli at two different concentrations, as well as the inter-cell distance between these cells. The probability of recording two cells with excitatory responses to the same odor was then determined for inter-cell distances up to 500 microns. For cells stimulated with high concentration odors, the probability of two cells 100-200 microns apart both being excited by the same odor was significantly lower than that predicted if all cells responded independently. Cells separated by greater or shorter inter-cell distances did not differ from the predicted value. Responses to the low odor concentration were not dependent on inter-cell distance. These results demonstrate that lateral synaptic interactions within the olfactory bulb influence output cell responses to odor stimulation.