Mucosal activity patterns as a basis for olfactory discrimination

Comparing behavior and optical recordings

P. F. Kent, M. M. Mozell, Steven Youngentob, P. Yurco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In over half a century numerous studies have demonstrated that different odorants produce individually different spatial patterns of neural receptor activity on the olfactory mucosa. However, the thought that these differential activity patterns could be the neural code underlying olfactory perception has not been tested directly. In the present study using operant techniques, rats were trained to differentially identify five odors from a homologous series of iso-intensive straight-chain aldehydes that differed serially by only one carbon atom, viz. hexaldehyde to decaldehyde. The rats identified each of the five odorants with greater than 90% correct identification. The degree of perceptual similarity between any pair of the five odorants was determined. Using multidimensional scaling techniques (MDS) the similarity measures yielded a two-dimensional perceptual odorant space. Optical techniques were used to record the olfactory mucosal activity patterns in response to these same five iso-intensive aldehydes. The mucosal activity elicited by each odorant revealed individually distinct band-like patterns that varied both within and across these bands. More importantly, the relative differential responsivity of the bands was related to chain length. An MDS analysis of the dissimilarity measure between all possible pairs of odorant induced activity patterns yielded a two-dimensional neurophysiologic odorant space. Further analysis indicated that the neurophysiologic and psychophysically determined odorant spaces were highly correlated (F1,39=23.9, P=nil). These results give additional credence to the concept that the odorant-induced mucosal activity patterns may serve as the substrate for the perception of odorant quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Research
Volume981
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2003

Fingerprint

Aldehydes
Discrimination (Psychology)
Odorants
Olfactory Perception
Olfactory Mucosa
Sensory Receptor Cells
Carbon
n-hexanal

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

Cite this

Mucosal activity patterns as a basis for olfactory discrimination : Comparing behavior and optical recordings. / Kent, P. F.; Mozell, M. M.; Youngentob, Steven; Yurco, P.

In: Brain Research, Vol. 981, No. 1-2, 15.08.2003, p. 1-11.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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