Dynamic mapping at the laminar level of odor-elicited responses in rat olfactory bulb by functional MRI

Xiaojin Yang, Remco Renken, Fahmeed Hyder, Mohamed Siddeek, Charles A. Greer, Gordon M. Shepherd, Robert G. Shulman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

118 Citations (Scopus)


We have applied functional MRI (fMRI) based on blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) image-contrast to map odor-elicited olfactory responses at the laminar level in the rat olfactory bulb (OB) elicited by iso-amyl acetate (10(-2) dilution of saturated vapor) with spatial and temporal resolutions of 220x220x1,000 micro(m) and 36 s. The laminar structure of the OB was clearly depicted by high-resolution in vivo anatomical MRI with spatial resolution of 110x110x1,000 micro(m). In repeated BOLD fMRI measurements, highly significant (P < 0.001) foci were located in the outer layers of both OBs. The occurrence of focal OB activity within a domain at the level of individual glomeruli or groups of glomeruli was corroborated on an intra- and inter-animal basis under anesthetized conditions with this noninvasive method. The dynamic studies demonstrated that the odor-elicited BOLD activations were highly reproducible on a time scale of minutes, whereas over tens of minutes the activations sometimes varied slowly. We found large BOLD signal (DeltaS/S = 10-30%) arising from the olfactory nerve layer, which is devoid of synapses and composed of unmyelinated fibers and glial cells. Our results support previous studies with other methods showing that odors elicit activity within glomerular layer domains in the mammalian OB, and extend the analysis to shorter time periods at the level of individual glomeruli or groups of glomeruli. With further improvement, BOLD fMRI should be ideal for systematic analysis of the functional significance of individual glomeruli in olfactory information encoding and of spatiotemporal processing within the olfactory system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7715-7720
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 23-Jun-1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Brain Mapping
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Odors
  • Olfactory Bulb
  • Rats
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Cite this