Rhythmic neuronal activity of multiple frequency bands has been described in many brain areas and attributed to numerous brain functions. Among these, little is known about the mechanism and role of infra-slow oscillations, which have been demonstrated recently in the mouse accessory olfactory bulb (AOB). Along with prolonged responses to stimuli and distinct network connectivity, they inexplicably affect the AOB processing of social relevant stimuli. Here, we show that assemblies of AOB mitral cells are synchronized by lateral interactions through chemical and electrical synapses. Using a network model, we demonstrate that the synchronous oscillations in these assemblies emerge from interplay between intrinsic membrane properties and network connectivity. As a consequence, the AOB network topology, in which each mitral cell receives input from multiple glomeruli, enables integration of chemosensory stimuli over extended time scales by interglomerular synchrony of infra-slow bursting. These results provide a possible functional significance for the distinct AOB physiology and topology. Beyond the AOB, this study presents a general model for synchronous infra-slow bursting in neuronal networks.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Infra-slow rhythmic neuronal activity with a very long (>10 s) duration has been described in many brain areas, but little is known about the role of this activity and the mechanisms that produce it. Here, we combine experimental and computational methods to show that synchronous infra-slow bursting activity in mitral cells of the mouse accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) emerges from interplay between intracellular dynamics and network connectivity. In this novel mechanism, slow intracellular Na(+) dynamics endow AOB mitral cells with a weak tendency to burst, which is further enhanced and stabilized by chemical and electrical synapses between them. Combined with the unique topology of the AOB network, infra-slow bursting enables integration and binding of multiple chemosensory stimuli over a prolonged time scale.
Year of publication
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 37(10):2656-2672.