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This article is part of the supplement: Sixteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2007

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Gating effects along mitral cell lateral dendrites

Thomas McTavish*, Larry Hunter, Nathan Schoppa and Diego Restrepo

Author Affiliations

University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, CO 80045, USA

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BMC Neuroscience 2007, 8(Suppl 2):P107  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-8-S2-P107

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:6 July 2007

© 2007 McTavish et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


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.


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    J Neurophysiol 2002, 88:64. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  3. Xiong W, Chen WR: Dynamic gating of spike propagation in the mitral cell lateral dendrites.

    Neuron 2002, 34:115. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

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