History-dependent odor processing in the mouse olfactory bulb

Amit Vinograd, Yoav Livneh, Adi Mizrahi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In nature, animals normally perceive sensory information on top of backgrounds. Thus, the neural substrate to perceive under background conditions is inherent in all sensory systems. Where and how sensory systems process backgrounds is not fully understood. In olfaction, just a few studies have addressed the issue of odor coding on top of continuous odorous backgrounds. Here, we tested how background odors are encoded by mitral cells (MCs) in the olfactory bulb (OB) of male mice. Using in vivo two-photon calcium imaging, we studied how MCs responded to odors in isolation versus their responses to the same odors on top of continuous backgrounds. Weshow that MCs adapt to continuous odor presentation and that mixture responses are different when preceded by background. In a subset of odor combinations, this history-dependent processing was useful in helping to identify target odors over background. Other odorous backgrounds were highly dominant such that target odors were completely masked by their presence. Our data are consistent in both low and high odor concentrations and in anesthetized and awake mice. Thus, odor processing in the OB is strongly influenced by the recent history of activity, which could have a powerful impact on how odors are perceived.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)12018-12030
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number49
StatePublished - 6 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Vinograd et al.


  • Olfactory bulb
  • Olfactory coding
  • Two-photon calcium imaging


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