• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jgenphysiolHomeThe Rockefeller University PressEditorsContactInstructions for AuthorsThis issue
J Gen Physiol. Jul 1, 1970; 56(1): 46–63.
PMCID: PMC2225875

Evidence for a Chromatographic Model of Olfaction

Abstract

The gradient of activity produced along the olfactory mucosa by odorant stimulation was measured by the ratio (the LB/MB ratio) of the summated neural discharges recorded from two branches of the olfactory nerve, a lateral branch (LB) supplying a mucosal region near the internal naris and a medial branch (MB) supplying a region near the external naris. Twenty-four frogs "sniffed" sixteen different odorants, each odorant at four concentrations and two flow rates. Increases in concentration and flow rate produced statistically reliable increases in the ratios; the magnitude of these increases was considerably smaller than the magnitude of the statistically significant changes that could be achieved by shifting the odorants themselves. Even the small change due to concentration depended upon the odorant presented. Thus, even at the highest physiologically possible concentrations and flow rates, the general level of the activity gradient along the mucosa appeared to be determined mainly by the particular odorant used. The relative retention time of each of these 16 different odorants was measured in a gas chromatograph fitted with a Carbowax 20M column. In general, the longer the odorant's retention time the smaller its LB/MB ratio. This suggests that the different mucosal gradients of activity are established for different odorants by a chromatographic process. The data further suggest that the mucosa behaves like a polar chromatographic column.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (1.1M).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • ADRIAN ED. Sensory discrimination with some recent evidence from the olfactory organ. Br Med Bull. 1950;6(4):330–333. [PubMed]
  • BEIDLER LM. Properties of chemoreceptors of tongue of rat. J Neurophysiol. 1953 Nov;16(6):595–607. [PubMed]
  • MONCRIEFF RW. The sorptive properties of the olfactory membrane. J Physiol. 1955 Dec 29;130(3):543–558. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • MOZELL MM. EVIDENCE FOR SORPTION AS A MECHANISM OF THE OLFACTORY ANALYSIS OF VAPOURS. Nature. 1964 Sep 12;203:1181–1182. [PubMed]
  • MOZELL MM. OLFACTORY DISCRIMINATION: ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL SPATIOTEMPORAL BASIS. Science. 1964 Mar 20;143(3612):1336–1337. [PubMed]
  • Mozell MM. The spatiotemporal analysis of odorants at the level of the olfactory receptor sheet. J Gen Physiol. 1966 Sep;50(1):25–41. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Peachey LD. The sarcoplasmic reticulum and transverse tubules of the frog's sartorius. J Cell Biol. 1965 Jun;25(3 Suppl):209–231. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from The Journal of General Physiology are provided here courtesy of The Rockefeller University Press

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...