Synaptic organization of the glomerulus in the main olfactory bulb: Compartments of the glomerulus and heterogeneity of the periglomerular cells

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Abstract

Abstract

According to the combinatorial receptor and glomerular codes for odors, the fine tuning of the output level from each glomerulus is assumed to be important for information processing in the olfactory system, which may be regulated by numerous elements, such as olfactory nerves (ONs), periglomerular (PG) cells, centrifugal nerves and even various interneurons, such as granule cells, making synapses outside the glomeruli. Recently, structural and physiological analyses at the cellular level started to reveal that the neuronal organization of the olfactory bulb may be more complex than previously thought. In the present paper, we describe the following six points of the structural organization of the glomerulus, revealed by confocal laser scanning microscopy and electron microscopy analyses of rats, mice and other mammals: (i) the chemical heterogeneity of PG cells; (ii) compartmental organization of the glomerulus, with each glomerulus consisting of two compartments, the ON zone and the non-ON zone; (iii) the heterogeneity of PG cells in terms of their structural and synaptic features, whereby type 1 PG cells send their intraglomerular dendrites into both the ON and non-ON zones and type 2 PG cells send their intraglomerular dendrites only into the non-ON zone, thus receiving either few synapses from the ON terminals, if present, or none at all; (iv) the spatial relationship of mitral/tufted cell dendritic processes with ON terminals and PG cell dendrites; (v) complex neuronal interactions via chemical synapses and gap junctions in the glomerulus; and (vi) comparative aspects of the organization of the main olfactory bulb.

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