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Neuron. 2018 May 16;98(4):736-742.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.04.004. Epub 2018 Apr 26.

Odor Perception on the Two Sides of the Brain: Consistency Despite Randomness.

Author information

1
Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA. Electronic address: ess2129@columbia.edu.
2
Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.
3
Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.
4
Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA; Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

Neurons in piriform cortex receive input from a random collection of glomeruli, resulting in odor representations that lack the stereotypic organization of the olfactory bulb. We have performed in vivo optical imaging and mathematical modeling to demonstrate that correlations are retained in the transformation from bulb to piriform cortex, a feature essential for generalization across odors. Random connectivity also implies that the piriform representation of a given odor will differ among different individuals and across brain hemispheres in a single individual. We show that these different representations can nevertheless support consistent agreement about odor quality across a range of odors. Our model also demonstrates that, whereas odor discrimination and categorization require far fewer neurons than reside in piriform cortex, consistent generalization may require the full complement of piriform neurons.

KEYWORDS:

consistency across individuals; generalization; olfactory representation; piriform cortex; random connectivity; readout agreement

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