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Effects of Experience

Three-week old rat pups that had received daily presentations of peppermint odor paired with tactile stimulation displayed higher levels of 2-deoxyglucose uptake in peppermint-activated glomeruli located in a lateral portion of the olfactory bulb compared to pups that had not had experience with the odor of peppermint extract (8). The effect lasted into adulthood, even without additional days of exposure (9). The peppermint-activated glomeruli were not affected by prior experience with cyclohexanone, which stimulated glomeruli in a different bulbar area (10). The effect required the pairing of tactile stimulation with the odor: neither odor nor tactile stimulation alone was effective and backward conditioning also was ineffective (66). The effect also was observed for natural odor mixtures such as maternal odor (67). 

Following the daily experience with peppermint odor, increases in mid-lateral glomerular activity also were observed by way of immunohistochemistry using antibodies to c-Fos (26). C-Fos-like immunoreactivity did not increase in more ventral glomeruli activated by peppermint odor (26). To explore further this apparent spatial heterogeneity in the effect of experience, peppermint-evoked 2-DG uptake was mapped across the glomerular layer in the anterior part of the olfactory bulb in rats with or without prior odor experience. The largest changes in glomerular 2-DG uptake indeed were associated with mid-lateral foci of peppermint-evoked activity, although smaller increases were distributed across large regions of the glomerular layer (22). Experience with peppermint odor also decreased beta-adrenergic receptor binding in the mid-lateral portion of the glomerular layer, while not having as great an effect on more ventral parts of the bulb (77). 

The changes in bulbar function associated with early odor experience also were associated with changes in structure. The glomerular layer increased in width in the activated area of the bulb (78). This width was associated with both an increase in glomerular diameter and an increase in the number of juxtaglomerular neurons surrounding the activated glomeruli (76). Activated glomeruli also exhibited an increased density of glial processes after the early odor experience (42).  

The effects of odor experience were different for laminae of the olfactory bulb other than the glomerular layer. Daily odor experience decreased c-Fos like immunoreactivity in the superficial granule cell layer underneath peppermint-activated glomeruli (79). Mitral cells displayed more suppressive responses to peppermint odor following prior experience (75), and the numbers of granule cells and mitral cells beneath activated glomeruli did not change with prior odor experience (43).  

Mapping Data
Combinatorial Coding
Molecular Features
Glomerular Modules
Chemotopic Progressions
Global Chemotopy
Feature Interactions
Predictive Value
Odorant Concentration
Odorant Contaminants
Effects of Experience
Literature Cited


This Human Brain Project/Neuroinformatics project is funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the National Institute of Mental Health