Disynaptic amplification of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 responses in the olfactory bulb

Didier De Saint Jan, Gary L. Westbrook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Sensory systems often respond to rapid stimuli with high frequency and fidelity, as perhaps best exemplified in the auditory system. Fast synaptic responses are fundamental requirements to achieve this task. The importance of speed is less clear in the olfactory system. Moreover, olfactory bulb output mitral cells respond to a single stimulation of the sensory afferents with unusually long EPSPs, lasting several seconds. We examined the temporal characteristics, developmental regulation, and the mechanism generating these responses in mouse olfactory bulb slices. The slow EPSP appeared at postnatal days 10-11 and was mediated by metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (mGluR1) and NMDA receptors. mGluR1 contribution was unexpected because its activation usually requires strong, high-frequency stimulation of inputs. However, dendritic release of glutamate from the intraglomerular network caused spillover-mediated recurrent activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors. We suggest that persistent responses in mitral cells amplify the incoming sensory information and, along with asynchronous inputs, drive odor-evoked slow temporal activity in the bulb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-140
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2007


  • Glomerulus
  • Glutamate spillover
  • Mitral cell
  • Olfactory bulb
  • Synaptic transmission
  • mGluR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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