Get access

Spatiotemporal distribution of a late synchronized activity in olfactory pathways following stimulation of the olfactory bulb in rats


Correspondence: Anne-Marie Mouly, Neurosciences et Systèmes sensoriels, CNRS, UCB Lyon1, 43 Boulevard du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne Cédex, France. E-mail:


The evoked potential recorded in the rat piriform cortex in response to electrical stimulation of the olfactory bulb is composed of an early component occasionally followed by a late component (60–70 ms). We previously showed that the late component occurrence was enhanced following an olfactory learning. In the present study carried out in naive rats, we investigated the precise conditions of induction of this late component, and its spatiotemporal distribution along the olfactory pathways. In the anaesthetized rat, a stimulating electrode was implanted in the olfactory bulb. Four recording electrodes were positioned, respectively, in the olfactory bulb, the anterior and posterior parts of the piriform cortex, and the entorhinal cortex. Simultaneous recording of signals evoked in the four sampled structures in response to stimulation of the olfactory bulb revealed that the late component was detected in anterior and posterior piriform cortex as well as in entorhinal cortex, but not in the olfactory bulb. The late component occurred reliably for a narrow range of low intensities of stimulation delivered at frequencies not exceeding 1 Hz. Comparison of late component amplitude and latency across the different recorded sites showed that this component appeared first and with the greatest amplitude in the posterior piriform cortex. In addition to showing a functional dissociation between anterior and posterior parts of the piriform cortex, these data suggest that the posterior piriform cortex could be the locus of generation of this late high amplitude synchronized activity, which would then propagate to the neighbouring regions.