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J Neurosci. 2000 Nov 1;20(21):8199-208.

Neural correlates of olfactory recognition memory in the rat orbitofrontal cortex.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


The orbitofrontal cortex (OF) is strongly and reciprocally connected with the perirhinal (PR) and entorhinal areas of the medial temporal lobe and plays an important role in odor recognition memory. This study characterized firing patterns of single neurons in the OF of rats performing a continuous odor-guided delayed nonmatch to sample (DNMS) task. Most OF neurons fired in association with one or more task events, including the initiation of trials, the sampling of odor stimuli, and the consumption of rewards. OF neurons also exhibited sustained odor-selective activity during the memory delay, and a large proportion of OF cells had odor-specific enhanced or suppressed responses on stimulus repetition. Most OF neurons were activated during several task events, or associated with complex behavioral states. The incidence of cells that fired in association with the critical match/non-match judgement was increased as the DNMS rule was learned, and was higher in OF than in perirhinal and entorhinal cortex. Furthermore, the classification of match and nonmatch trials was correlated with accuracy in performance of that judgement. These findings are consistent with the view that OF is a high order association cortex that plays a role both in the memory representations for specific stimuli and in the acquisition and application of task rules.

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