Cortical Feedback Decorrelates Olfactory Bulb Output in Awake Mice.
ABSTRACT: The olfactory bulb receives rich glutamatergic projections from the piriform cortex. However, the dynamics and importance of these feedback signals remain unknown. Here, we use multiphoton calcium imaging to monitor cortical feedback in the olfactory bulb of awake mice and further probe its impact on the bulb output. Responses of feedback boutons were sparse, odor specific, and often outlasted stimuli by several seconds. Odor presentation either enhanced or suppressed the activity of boutons. However, any given bouton responded with stereotypic polarity across multiple odors, preferring either enhancement or suppression. Feedback representations were locally diverse and differed in dynamics across bulb layers. Inactivation of piriform cortex increased odor responsiveness and pairwise similarity of mitral cells but had little impact on tufted cells. We propose that cortical feedback differentially impacts these two output channels of the bulb by specifically decorrelating mitral cell responses to enable odor separation.
Project description:Odor representations are initially formed in the olfactory bulb, which contains a topographic glomerular map of odor molecular features. The bulb transmits sensory information directly to piriform cortex, where it is encoded by distributed ensembles of pyramidal cells without spatial order. Intriguingly, piriform cortex pyramidal cells project back to the bulb, but the information contained in this feedback projection is unknown. Here, we use imaging in awake mice to directly monitor activity in the presynaptic boutons of cortical feedback fibers. We show that the cortex provides the bulb with a rich array of information for any individual odor and that cortical feedback is dependent on brain state. In contrast to the stereotyped, spatial arrangement of olfactory bulb glomeruli, cortical inputs tuned to different odors commingle and indiscriminately target individual glomerular channels. Thus, the cortex modulates early odor representations by broadcasting sensory information diffusely onto spatially ordered bulbar circuits.
Project description:Olfactory cortex pyramidal cells integrate sensory input from olfactory bulb mitral and tufted (M/T) cells and project axons back to the bulb. However, the impact of cortical feedback projections on olfactory bulb circuits is unclear. Here, we selectively express channelrhodopsin-2 in olfactory cortex pyramidal cells and show that cortical feedback projections excite diverse populations of bulb interneurons. Activation of cortical fibers directly excites GABAergic granule cells, which in turn inhibit M/T cells. However, we show that cortical inputs preferentially target short axon cells that drive feedforward inhibition of granule cells. In vivo, activation of olfactory cortex that only weakly affects spontaneous M/T cell firing strongly gates odor-evoked M/T cell responses: cortical activity suppresses odor-evoked excitation and enhances odor-evoked inhibition. Together, these results indicate that although cortical projections have diverse actions on olfactory bulb microcircuits, the net effect of cortical feedback on M/T cells is an amplification of odor-evoked inhibition.
Project description:In a complex and dynamic environment, the brain flexibly adjusts its circuits to preferentially process behaviorally relevant information. Here, we investigated how the olfactory bulb copes with this demand by examining the plasticity of adult-born granule cells (abGCs). We found that learning of olfactory discrimination elevates odor responses of young abGCs and increases their apical dendritic spines. This plasticity did not occur in abGCs during passive odor experience nor in resident granule cells (rGCs) during learning. Furthermore, we found that feedback projections from the piriform cortex show elevated activity during learning, and activating piriform feedback elicited stronger excitatory postsynaptic currents in abGCs than rGCs. Inactivation of piriform feedback blocked abGC plasticity during learning, and activation of piriform feedback during passive experience induced learning-like plasticity of abGCs. Our work describes a neural circuit mechanism that uses adult neurogenesis to update a sensory circuit to flexibly adapt to new behavioral demands.
Project description:The piriform cortex (PCx) receives direct input from the olfactory bulb (OB) and is the brain's main station for odor recognition and memory. The transformation of the odor code from OB to PCx is profound: mitral and tufted cells in olfactory glomeruli respond to individual odorant molecules, whereas pyramidal neurons (PNs) in the PCx responds to multiple, apparently random combinations of activated glomeruli. How these 'discontinuous' receptive fields are formed from OB inputs remains unknown. Counter to the prevailing view that olfactory PNs sum their inputs passively, we show for the first time that NMDA spikes within individual dendrites can both amplify OB inputs and impose combination selectivity upon them, while their ability to compartmentalize voltage signals allows different dendrites to represent different odorant combinations. Thus, the 2-layer integrative behavior of olfactory PN dendrites provides a parsimonious account for the nonlinear remapping of the odor code from bulb to cortex.
Project description:Olfactory sensory neurons synapse with mitral cells to form stereotyped connections in the olfactory bulb (OB). Mitral cell apical dendrites receive input from olfactory sensory neurons expressing the same odorant receptor. During development, this restricted dendritic targeting of mitral cells is achieved through eliminating elaborated dendritic trees to a single apical dendrite. Through a genome-wide microarray screen, we identified TARSH (Target of NESH SH3) as a transiently expressed molecule in mitral cells during the dendritic refinement period. TARSH expression is restricted to pyramidal neurons along the main olfactory pathway, including the anterior olfactory nucleus and piriform cortex. The dynamic TARSH expression is not altered when odor-evoked activity is blocked by naris closure or in AC3 knockout mice. We also demonstrate that TARSH is a secreted protein. In dissociated OB cultures, secreted TARSH promotes the reduction of mitral cell dendritic complexity and restricts dendritic branching and outgrowth of interneurons. Dendritic morphological changes were also observed in mitral cells overexpressing TARSH themselves. We propose that TARSH is part of the genetic program that regulates mitral cell dendritic refinement.
Project description:Odorant molecules stimulate olfactory receptor neurons, and axons of these neurons project into the main olfactory bulb where they synapse onto mitral and tufted cells. These project to the primary olfactory cortex including the anterior olfactory nucleus (AON), the piriform cortex, amygdala, and the entorhinal cortex. The properties of mitral cells have been investigated extensively, but how odor information is processed in subsequent brain regions is less well known. In the present study, we recorded the electrical activity of AON neurons in anesthetized rats. Most AON cells fired in bursts of 2-10 spikes separated by very short intervals (<20 ms), in a period linked to the respiratory rhythm. Simultaneous recordings from adjacent neurons revealed that the rhythms of adjacent cells, while locked to the same underlying rhythm, showed marked differences in phase. We studied the responses of AON cells to brief high-frequency stimulation of the lateral olfactory tract, mimicking brief activation of mitral cells by odor. In different cells, such stimuli evoked transient or sustained bursts during stimulation or, more commonly, post-stimulation bursts after inhibition during stimulation. This suggests that, in AON cells, phase shifts occur as a result of post-inhibitory rebound firing, following inhibition by mitral cell input, and we discuss how this supports processing of odor information in the olfactory pathway. Cells were tested for their responsiveness to a social odor (the bedding of a strange male) among other simple and complex odors tested. In total, 11 cells responded strongly and repeatedly to bedding odor, and these responses were diverse, including excitation (transient or sustained), inhibition, and activation after odor presentation, indicating that AON neurons respond not only to the type of complex odor but also to temporal features of odor application.
Project description:In primary sensory cortices, there are two main sources of excitation: afferent sensory input relayed from the periphery and recurrent intracortical input. Untangling the functional roles of these two excitatory pathways is fundamental for understanding how cortical neurons process sensory stimuli. Odor representations in the primary olfactory (piriform) cortex depend on excitatory sensory afferents from the olfactory bulb. However, piriform cortex pyramidal cells also receive dense intracortical excitatory connections, and the relative contribution of these two pathways to odor responses is unclear. Using a combination of in vivo whole-cell voltage-clamp recording and selective synaptic silencing, we show that the recruitment of intracortical input, rather than olfactory bulb input, largely determines the strength of odor-evoked excitatory synaptic transmission in rat piriform cortical neurons. Furthermore, we find that intracortical synapses dominate odor-evoked excitatory transmission in broadly tuned neurons, whereas bulbar synapses dominate excitatory synaptic responses in more narrowly tuned neurons.
Project description:Neurons in piriform cortex receive input from a random collection of glomeruli, resulting in odor representations that lack the stereotypic organization of the olfactory bulb. We have performed in vivo optical imaging and mathematical modeling to demonstrate that correlations are retained in the transformation from bulb to piriform cortex, a feature essential for generalization across odors. Random connectivity also implies that the piriform representation of a given odor will differ among different individuals and across brain hemispheres in a single individual. We show that these different representations can nevertheless support consistent agreement about odor quality across a range of odors. Our model also demonstrates that, whereas odor discrimination and categorization require far fewer neurons than reside in piriform cortex, consistent generalization may require the full complement of piriform neurons.
Project description:In the olfactory bulb, odor representations by principal mitral cells are modulated by local inhibitory circuits. While dendrodendritic synapses between mitral and granule cells are typically thought to be a major source of this modulation, the contributions of other inhibitory neurons remain unclear. Here we demonstrate the functional properties of olfactory bulb parvalbumin-expressing interneurons (PV cells) and identify their important role in odor coding. Using paired recordings, we find that PV cells form reciprocal connections with the majority of nearby mitral cells, in contrast to the sparse connectivity between mitral and granule cells. In vivo calcium imaging in awake mice reveals that PV cells are broadly tuned to odors. Furthermore, selective PV cell inactivation enhances mitral cell responses in a linear fashion while maintaining mitral cell odor preferences. Thus, dense connections between mitral and PV cells underlie an inhibitory circuit poised to modulate the gain of olfactory bulb output.
Project description:Prior odor experience has a profound effect on the coding of new odor inputs by animals. The olfactory bulb, the first relay of the olfactory pathway, can substantially shape the representations of odor inputs. How prior odor experience affects the representation of new odor inputs in olfactory bulb and its underlying network mechanism are still unclear. Here we carried out a series of simulations based on a large-scale realistic mitral-granule network model and found that prior odor experience not only accelerated formation of the network, but it also significantly strengthened sparse responses in the mitral cell network while decreasing sparse responses in the granule cell network. This modulation of sparse representations may be due to the increase of inhibitory synaptic weights. Correlations among mitral cells within the network and correlations between mitral network responses to different odors decreased gradually when the number of prior training odors was increased, resulting in a greater decorrelation of the bulb representations of input odors. Based on these findings, we conclude that the degree of prior odor experience facilitates degrees of sparse representations of new odors by the mitral cell network through experience-enhanced inhibition mechanism.