Spatial patterns of olfactory bulb single-unit responses to learned olfactory cues in young rats.J Neurophysiol. 1988 Jun; 59(6):1770-82.JN
1. Neonatal rat pups were classically conditioned to an odor stimulus from postnatal day 1 (PN1) to PN18. Tactile stimulation (stroking) was used as the unconditioned stimulus. On PN19, mitral/tufted cell single-unit responses to the conditioned odor were examined in both conditioned and control pups. Recordings were made from mitral/tufted cells in two regions of the olfactory bulb: 1) an area typically associated with focal [14C]2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) uptake in response to the conditioned odor and 2) an area distant from focal 2-DG uptake to the conditioned odor. Animals were anesthetized with urethane and were naturally respiring during the single-unit recording procedure. 2. Changes in mitral/tufted cell firing rate in response to odors in both bulbar regions and all training groups were classified as either excitatory, suppressive, or no response. This response classification was used to compare response patterns to the conditioned odor between bulbar regions and training groups. 3. Classical conditioning selectively modified the response patterns of mitral/tufted cells to the conditioned odor when those cells were associated with regions of focal 2-DG uptake for that odor. Mitral/tufted cells demonstrated significantly more suppressive and fewer excitatory responses to the conditioned odor than cells in control pups. Response patterns to a novel odor were not similarly modified. 4. Response patterns of mitral/tufted cells distant from the focal region of 2-DG uptake to the conditioned odor were not modified by conditioning compared with control pups. 5. The difference in response pattern between cells in the 2-DG focus and cells distant to the 2-DG focus was apparent within 500 ms of the stimulus onset. Given the respiratory rate of these pups (2 Hz), these data suggest that the modified response pattern occurred on the first inhalation of the learned odor. 6. These data demonstrate that both spatial and temporal patterns of olfactory bulb output neuron activity are used in the coding of olfactory information in the bulb. Furthermore, these spatial/temporal response patterns can be modified by early learning.