Volume 8 Supplement 2

Sixteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2007

Open Access

Gating effects along mitral cell lateral dendrites

  • Thomas McTavish1Email author,
  • Larry Hunter1,
  • Nathan Schoppa1 and
  • Diego Restrepo1
BMC Neuroscience20078(Suppl 2):P107

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-8-S2-P107

Published: 6 July 2007


It is generally thought that granule-mitral cell synapses in the olfactory bulb function to inhibit mitral cell firing, and that this inhibition can underlie such functionally important phenomena as lateral inhibition and synchronization [1]. Recent electrophysiology [2] and imaging [3] studies indicate that the location of the dendrodendritic synapse must be close to the soma to impact the mitral cell's firing.

Materials and methods

Our objective was to survey the effect of dendrodendritic synapses on firing of pairs of mitral cells sharing a granule cell using a standard, computational mitral cell model [4].


We show that depending on the location of the dendrodendritic synapses along the mitral cell lateral dendrite, three types of inhibitory effects can be described between mitral cell pairs: 1) A "bidirectional gate" arises when the granule cell induces a discernible inhibitory response in both mitral cell somas. 2) A "unidirectional gate" occurs when the granule cell induces a discernible inhibitory response in only one mitral cell soma. 3) An "inconsequential gate" occurs when the granule cell does not induce a discernible inhibitory response in either mitral cell soma.


Preliminary results indicate that most of the lateral dendrite contains unidirectional or inconsequential gates. This is important as most olfactory bulb models effectively treat the mitral-granule dendrodendritic synapse as a bidirectional gate and may need to account for other gating behaviors created by considering the spatial extent of dendrodendritic synapses.

Authors’ Affiliations

University of Colorado Health Sciences Center


  1. Shepherd GM, Chen WR, Greer CA, Shepherd GM: Olfactory bulb. Synaptic Organization of the Brain. 2003, Oxford University Press, USA, 165-Google Scholar
  2. Lowe G: Inhibition of backpropagating action potentials in mitral cell secondary dendrites. J Neurophysiol. 2002, 88: 64-PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Xiong W, Chen WR: Dynamic gating of spike propagation in the mitral cell lateral dendrites. Neuron. 2002, 34: 115-10.1016/S0896-6273(02)00628-1.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhalla US, Bower JM: Exploring parameter space in detailed single neuron models: simulations of the mitral and granule cells of the olfactory bulb. J Neurophysiol. 1993, 69: 1948-1965.PubMedGoogle Scholar


© McTavish et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2007

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.