Functional structure of the mitral cell dendritic tuft in the rat olfactory bulb

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Djurisic, Maja
Popovic, Marko
Carnevale, Nicholas
Zecevic, Dejan
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Olfactory bulb
Mitral cell
Dendritic tuft
Voltage imaging
Calcium imaging
Synaptic integration
The input–output transform performed by mitral cells, the principal projection neurons of the olfactory bulb, is one of the key factors in understanding olfaction. We used combined calcium and voltage imaging from the same neuron and computer modeling to investigate signal processing in the mitral cells, focusing on the glomerular dendritic tuft. The main finding was that the dendritic tuft functions as a single electrical compartment for subthreshold signals within the range of amplitudes detectable by voltage-sensitive dye recording. These evoked EPSPs had uniform characteristics throughout the glomerular tuft. The Ca2+ transients associated with spatially uniform subthreshold synaptic potentials were comparable but not equal in amplitude in all regions. The average range of normalized amplitudes of the EPSP-driven Ca2+ signals from different locations on dendritic branches in the glomerular tuft was relatively narrow and appeared to be independent of the dendritic surface-to-volume ratio. The computer simulations constrained by the imaging data indicated that a synchronized activation of ~100 synapses randomly distributed on tuft branches was sufficient to generate spatially homogenous EPSPs. This number of activated synapses is consistent with the data from anatomical studies. Furthermore, voltage attenuation of the EPSP along the primary dendrite at physiological temperature was weak compared with other cell types. In the model, weak attenuation of the EPSP along the primary dendrite could be accounted for by passive electrical properties of the mitral cell.
Author Posting. © Society for Neuroscience, 2008. This article is posted here by permission of Society for Neuroscience for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Neuroscience 28 (2008): 4057-4068, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5296-07.2008.
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Journal of Neuroscience 28 (2008): 4057-4068
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