Sequential sparsing by successive adapting neural populations
© Farkhooi et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009
Published: 13 July 2009
In the principal cells of the insect mushroom body, the Kenyon cells (KC), olfactory information is represented by a spatially and temporally sparse code. Each odor stimulus will activate only a small portion of neurons (spatial sparseness) and each stimulus leads to only a short phasic response following stimulus onset (temporal or lifetime sparseness) irrespective of the actual duration of a constant stimulus. The mechanisms responsible for the temporally sparse code in the KCs are yet unresolved.
Our simulation result matches well with the experimental observations. In particular, intracellular recordings of PNs show a clear phasic-tonic response that outlasts the stimulus  while extracellular recordings from KCs in the locust express sharp transient responses . We conclude that the neuron-intrinsic SFA mechanism is sufficient to explain a progressive temporal response sparsening in the insect olfactory system. Further experimental work is needed to test this hypothesis empirically.
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