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Neuron. 2005 Apr 21;46(2):285-96.

State-dependent sensory gating in olfactory cortex.

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Department of Physiology, Graduate School of Medicine, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Sensory systems show behavioral state-dependent gating of information flow that largely depends on the thalamus. Here we examined whether the state-dependent gating occurs in the central olfactory pathway that lacks a thalamic relay. In urethane-anesthetized rats, neocortical EEG showed a periodical alternation between two states: a slow-wave state (SWS) characterized by large and slow waves and a fast-wave state (FWS) characterized by faster waves. Single-unit recordings from olfactory cortex neurons showed robust spike responses to adequate odorants during FWS, whereas they showed only weak responses during SWS. The state-dependent change in odorant-evoked responses was observed in a majority of olfactory cortex neurons, but in only a small percentage of olfactory bulb neurons. These findings demonstrate a powerful state-dependent gating of odor information in the olfactory cortex that works in synchrony with the gating of other sensory systems. They suggest a state-dependent switchover of signal processing modes in the olfactory cortex.

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