Dr. Jeremy McIntyre & colleagues publish in April 2017 Chemical Senses
Interactions with the environment depend not only on sensory perception of external stimuli but also on processes of neuromodulation regulated by the internal state of an organism. These processes allow regulation of stimulus detection to match the demands of an organism influenced by its general brain state (satiety, wakefulness/sleep state, attentiveness, arousal, learning etc.). The sense of smell is initiated by sensory neurons located in the nasal cavity that recognize environmental odorants and project axons into the olfactory bulb (OB), where they form synapses with several types of neurons. Modulations of early synaptic circuits are particularly important since these can affect all subsequent processing steps. While the precise mechanisms have not been fully elucidated, work from many labs has demonstrated that the activity of neurons in the OB and cortex can be modulated by different factors inducing specific changes to olfactory information processing. The symposium “Neuromodulation in Chemosensory Pathways” at the International Symposium on Olfaction and Taste (ISOT 2016) highlighted some of the most recent advances in state-dependent network modulations of the mouse olfactory system including modulation mediated by specific neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine molecules, involving pharmacological, electrophysiological, learning, and behavioral approaches.