Odours are transported by turbulent air currents, creating complex temporal fluctuations in odour concentration. Recently, we have shown that mice can discriminate odour stimuli based on their temporal structure, indicating that information present in the temporal structure of odour plumes may be extracted by the mouse olfactory system. Here using in vivo electrophysiological recordings, we show that mitral and tufted cells (M/TCs), the projection neurons of the mouse olfactory bulb, can encode the dominant temporal frequencies present in odour stimuli up to frequencies of at least 20 Hz. We show that M/TCs couple their membrane potential to odour concentration fluctuations; coupling was variable between M/TCs but independent of the odour presented and with TCs displaying slightly elevated coupling compared to MCs in particular for higher frequency stimulation (20Hz). Pharmacologically blocking the inhibitory circuitry strongly modulated frequency coupling. Together this suggests that both cellular and circuit properties contribute to the encoding of temporal odour features in the mouse olfactory bulb.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience