Broadly tuned and respiration-independent inhibition in the olfactory bulb of awake mice

Brittany N Cazakoff, Billy Y B Lau, Kerensa L Crump, Heike Demmer, Stephen David Shea

Olfactory representations are shaped by both brain state and respiration; however, the interaction and circuit substrates of these influences are poorly understood. Granule cells (GCs) in the main olfactory bulb (MOB) are presumed to sculpt activity that reaches the olfactory cortex via inhibition of mitral/tufted cells (MTs). GCs may potentially sparsen ensemble activity by facilitating lateral inhibition among MTs, and/or they may enforce temporally-precise activity locked to breathing. Yet, the selectivity and temporal structure of GC activity during wakefulness are unknown. We recorded GCs in the MOB of anesthetized and awake mice and reveal pronounced state-dependent features of odor coding and temporal patterning. Under anesthesia, GCs exhibit sparse activity and are strongly and synchronously coupled to the respiratory cycle. Upon waking, GCs desynchronize, broaden their odor responses, and typically fire without regard for the respiratory rhythm. Thus during wakefulness, GCs exhibit stronger odor responses with less temporal structure. Based on these observations, we propose that during wakefulness GCs likely predominantly shape MT odor responses through broadened lateral interactions rather than respiratory synchronization.

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