The organization of the projection of olfactory bulb output cells was studied in the rat by injection of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) into the piriform cortex or olfactory tubercle. We made single HRP injections into small cuts in the fiber layer of the projection areas in order to enhance uptake by axons and to confine the region of HRP uptake. Following most of these injections, HRP-labeled axons could be traced in discrete fascicles through the fiber layer of the cortex or tubercle. These observations indicate that axons innervating the piriform cortex do not emit many long collaterals after they leave the lateral olfactory bulb, but there were regions of greater density of labeled that differed in the various brains. The differences among the distributions of labeled mitral and tufted cells were analyzed statistically in 39 brains to test whether they varied systematically with injection site. In these analyses, the olfactory bulb was divided into 30 standard regions, and the labeled cells in each regions were counted.

The distributions of labeled cells were similar for brains where injections were made into similar regions of the piriform cortex. The variations in density of labeled cells of the dorsal and anterior regions of the olfactory bulb were most strongly correlated with the positions of cortical injections. In contrast, the posterior medial regions of the bulb were heavily labeled after almost all injections. The ventral portions of the olfactory bulb were most heavily labeled after injections into the olfactory tubercle.