Disruption of centrifugal inhibition to olfactory bulb granule cells impairs olfactory discrimination

Alexia Nunez-Parra, Robert K. Maurer, Krista Krahe, Richard S. Smith, Ricardo C. Araneda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Granule cells (GCs) are the most abundant inhibitory neuronal type in the olfactory bulb and play a critical role in olfactory processing. GCs regulate the activity of principal neurons, the mitral cells, through dendrodendritic synapses, shaping the olfactory bulb output to other brain regions. GC excitability is regulated precisely by intrinsic and extrinsic inputs, and this regulation is fundamental for odor discrimination. Here, we used channelrhodopsin to stimulate GABAergic axons from the basal forebrain selectively and show that this stimulation generates reliable inhibitory responses in GCs. Furthermore, selective in vivo inhibition of GABAergic neurons in the basal forebrain by targeted expression of designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs produced a reversible impairment in the discrimination of structurally similar odors, indicating an important role of these inhibitory afferents in olfactory processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14777-14782
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 3 2013


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