Self-inhibition of olfactory bulb neurons

T. Caitlin Smith, Craig E. Jahr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The GABA (γ-aminobutyric-acid)-containing periglomerular (PG) cells provide the first level of inhibition to mitral and tufted (M/T) cells, the output neurons of the olfactory bulb. We find that stimulation of PG cells of the rat olfactory bulb results in self-inhibition: release of GABA from an individual PG cell activates GABAA receptors on the same neuron. PG cells normally contain high concentrations of intracellular chloride and consequently are depolarized by GABA. Despite this, GABA inhibits PG cell firing by shunting excitatory signals. Finally, GABA released during self-inhibition may spill over to neighboring PG cells, resulting in a lateral spread of inhibition. Given the gatekeeping role of PG cells in the olfactory network, GABA-mediated self-inhibition will favor M/T cell excitation during intense sensory stimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)760-766
Number of pages7
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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