Research Article

Recurrent cortical circuits implement concentration-invariant odor coding

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Science  14 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6407, eaat6904
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat6904

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Representing the identity of a smell

We still don't know how odors retain their identities over a range of concentrations. Working in mice, Bolding and Franks simultaneously recorded spiking activity from neurons in the olfactory bulb and piriform cortex, two important brain regions for olfaction. Odor information was transformed from a representation that was highly concentration dependent in the olfactory bulb to a representation that was largely concentration invariant in the piriform cortex. The underlying mechanism involves a “winner-takes-all” lateral inhibition. In the collateral network of the piriform cortex, the principal cells responded promptly to output from the olfactory bulb, and recurrent inhibition curtailed the intensity dependence of the signal.

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