Cortical processing of sensory information plays a critical role in sensory discrimination, object recognition and memory. Cortical sensory processing has been shown to be highly dynamic, with past experience, current context and expectations shaping how the world is perceived on a moment by moment basis. Disorders of sensory processing constitute a major component of impairments induced by CNS disease and aging, as well as congenital disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. In the olfactory system, features of odorant molecules and mixtures are believed to be extracted by a large family of olfactory receptor proteins at the receptor sheet, and further defined by synaptic processing with the olfactory bulb. Current views of olfactory function suggest that re- assembly of these features into perceptual odor wholes is performed largely by circuits in the primary olfactory cortex. Work completed during the past funding period of this award provided evidence that odor encoding by piriform cortical neurons is highly dynamic, and appears to be consistent with the experience-dependent synthetic role proposed for this cortex. In addition, evidence was obtained suggesting that anterior piriform cortex neural ensembles encode odor identity, while posterior piriform cortical ensembles encode odor quality. Experience-dependent object encoding and perception in neocortical sensory systems is heavily dependent on intrinsic, intracortical association fibers. A similar, highly plastic intrinsic association system exists in the piriform cortex, and in fact dominates dendritic trees in posterior piriform compared to anterior. The present proposal examines the role of the piriform cortical intrinsic fiber system in odor encoding and perception using single-unit, multiple single-unit and behavioral techniques.
Aim 1 proposes to parametrically examine how needs for a balance between pattern completion (generalization between slight variance within an otherwise constant stimulus) and pattern separation (discrimination of similar odors) are met in piriform cortex and translated to behavior, Aim 2 proposes to further examine the effects of experience on pattern completion and separation in anterior and posterior piriform cortex, and Aim 3 proposes to examine odor experience-induced plasticity of intrinsic cortical connections and their role of cortical ensemble formation and odor discrimination. Information processing by cortical networks is critical for normal sensory perception, memory, and motor responses to the environment. Understanding how information is entered into, and analyzed by these networks will have a fundamental impact on our ability to interpret and treat disorders of these basic cognitive functions. This proposal takes advantage of the relatively simple organization of the olfactory system and its robust plasticity to examine how sensory experience modifies cortical circuit function.
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|Courtiol, Emmanuelle; Wilson, Donald A (2016) Neural Representation of Odor-Guided Behavior in the Rat Olfactory Thalamus. J Neurosci 36:5946-60|
|Kimball, Bruce A; Wilson, Donald A; Wesson, Daniel W (2016) Alterations of the volatile metabolome in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease. Sci Rep 6:19495|
|Baslow, Morris H; Cain, Christopher K; Sears, Robert et al. (2016) Stimulation-induced transient changes in neuronal activity, blood flow and N-acetylaspartate content in rat prefrontal cortex: a chemogenetic fMRS-BOLD study. NMR Biomed 29:1678-1687|
|Olofsson, Jonas K; Josefsson, Maria; EkstrÃ¶m, Ingrid et al. (2016) Long-term episodic memory decline is associated with olfactory deficits only in carriers of ApoE-Ñ”4. Neuropsychologia 85:1-9|
|Schneider, Nanette Y; Datiche, FrÃ©dÃ©rique; Wilson, Donald A et al. (2016) Brain processing of a configural vs elemental odor mixture in the newborn rabbit. Brain Struct Funct 221:2527-39|
|Perry, Rosemarie E; Al AÃ¯n, Syrina; Raineki, Charlis et al. (2016) Development of Odor Hedonics: Experience-Dependent Ontogeny of Circuits Supporting Maternal and Predator Odor Responses in Rats. J Neurosci 36:6634-50|
|Cohen, Yaniv; Wilson, Donald A; Barkai, Edi (2015) Differential modifications of synaptic weights during odor rule learning: dynamics of interaction between the piriform cortex with lower and higher brain areas. Cereb Cortex 25:180-91|
|Courtiol, Emmanuelle; Wilson, Donald A (2015) The olfactory thalamus: unanswered questions about the role of the mediodorsal thalamic nucleus in olfaction. Front Neural Circuits 9:49|
|Sadrian, Benjamin; Wilson, Donald A (2015) Optogenetic Stimulation of Lateral Amygdala Input to Posterior Piriform Cortex Modulates Single-Unit and Ensemble Odor Processing. Front Neural Circuits 9:81|
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