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Possible Stochastic Mechanism for Improving
the Selectivity of Olfactory Projection Neurons
Neurophysiology, Vol. 51, No. 3, May, 2019
A possible mechanism that provides increased selectivity of olfactory bulb projection neurons, as
compared to that of the primary olfactory receptor neurons, has been proposed. The mechanism operates
at low concentrations of the odor molecules, when the lateral inhibition mechanism becomes inefficient.
The mechanism proposed is based on a threshold-type reaction to the stimuli received by a projection
neuron from a few receptor neurons, the stochastic nature of these stimuli, and the existence of electrical
leakage in the projection neurons. The mechanism operates at the level of the single individual projection
neuron and does not require the involvement of other bulbar neurons.
Keywords: odors, olfactory bulb, olfactory receptor neurons, projection neurons, spike activity,
selectivity, stochastic process.