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Neuroscience. 1993 Jul;55(2):325-38.

Signal transmission in lobster olfactory receptor cells: functional significance of electrotonic structure analysed by a compartmental model.

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Section of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.


The electrotonic structure of lobster olfactory receptor cells was evaluated using general purpose simulation software in a compartmental model derived from electron-microscopic reconstruction. The model with non-uniform membrane resistance (Rm) was used to (i) simulate current spread and (ii) determine if the electronic structure of the cell improves signal recognition in the soma. The odor-evoked conductance change in dendrites was calculated according to the Michaelis-Menten equation with the assumption that the outer dendritic segments function as independent stimulus detectors. The inflection point of the concentration-response function measured in the soma was shifted to lower concentrations relative to that measured in the ciliary (outer dendritic) arbor. The shift, which was greater for inputs with lower efficacy (represented in the model by smaller Hill coefficients) and for the dynamic phase of the response than for the steady-state phase, effectively increased the selectivity of the somatic response. Randomized input distributed uniformly to progressively more restricted areas of the ciliary arbor showed that stimulation of larger areas (presumably the entire ciliary arbor) decreased the statistical variability of the somatic response.

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