The type of neuronal activity required for circuit development is a matter of significant debate. We addressed this issue by analyzing the topographic organization of the olfactory bulb in transgenic mice engineered to have very little afferent spontaneous activity due to the overexpression of the inwardly rectifying potassium channel Kir2.1 in the olfactory sensory neurons (Kir2.1 mice). In these conditions, the topography of the olfactory bulb was unrefined. Odor-evoked responses were readily recorded in glomeruli with reduced spontaneous afferent activity, although the functional maps were coarser than in controls and contributed to altered olfactory discrimination behavior. In addition, overexpression of Kir2.1 in adults induced a regression of the already refined connectivity to an immature (i.e., coarser) status. Our data suggest that spontaneous activity plays a critical role not only in the development but also in the maintenance of the topography of the olfactory bulb and in sensory information processing.
We are a leading supplier to the global Life Science industry with solutions and services for research, biotechnology development and production, and pharmaceutical drug therapy development and production.