Origins of correlated spiking in the mammalian olfactory bulb

Richard Gerkin, Shreejoy J. Tripathy, Nathaniel N. Urban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Mitral/tufted (M/T) cells of the main olfactory bulb transmit odorant information to higher brain structures. The relative timing of action potentials across M/T cells has been proposed to encode this information and to be critical for the activation of downstream neurons. Using ensemble recordings from the mouse olfactory bulb in vivo, we measured how correlations between cells are shaped by stimulus (odor) identity, common respiratory drive, and other cells' activity. The shared respiration cycle is the largest source of correlated firing, but even after accounting for all observable factors a residual positive noise correlation was observed. Noise correlation was maximal on a ~100-ms timescale and was seen only in cells separated by <200 μm. This correlation is explained primarily by common activity in groups of nearby cells. Thus, M/T-cell correlation principally reflects respiratory modulation and sparse, local network connectivity, with odor identity accounting for a minor component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17083-17088
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 15 2013


  • Olfaction
  • Sensory
  • Statistics
  • Synchrony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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