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Journal of Experimental Biology





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Skip to Next Section Olfactory sensory neurons innervate the olfactory bulb, where responses to different odorants generate a chemotopic map of increased neural activity within different bulbar regions. In this study, insight into the basal pattern of neural organization of the vertebrate olfactory bulb was gained by investigating the lamprey. Retrograde labelling established that lateral and dorsal bulbar territories receive the axons of sensory neurons broadly distributed in the main olfactory epithelium and that the medial region receives sensory neuron input only from neurons projecting from the accessory olfactory organ. The response duration for local field potential recordings was similar in the lateral and dorsal regions, and both were longer than medial responses. All three regions responded to amino acid odorants. The dorsal and medial regions, but not the lateral region, responded to steroids. These findings show evidence for olfactory streams in the sea lamprey olfactory bulb: the lateral region responds to amino acids from sensory input in the main olfactory epithelium, the dorsal region responds to steroids (taurocholic acid and pheromones) and to amino acids from sensory input in the main olfactory epithelium, and the medial bulbar region responds to amino acids and steroids stimulating the accessory olfactory organ. These findings indicate that olfactory subsystems are present at the base of vertebrate evolution and that regionality in the lamprey olfactory bulb has some aspects previously seen in other vertebrate species.



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