ODOR IDENTITY CAN BE EXTRACTED FROM THE RECIPROCAL CONNECTIVITY BETWEEN OLFACTORY BULB AND PIRIFORM CORTEX IN HUMANS
Neuronal oscillations route external and internal information across brain regions. In the olfactory system, the two central nodes-the olfactory bulb (OB) and the piriform cortex (PC)-communicate with each other via neural oscillations to shape the olfactory percept. Communication between these nodes have been well characterized in non-human animals but less is known about their role in the human olfactory system. Using a recently developed and validated EEG-based method to extract signals from the OB and PC sources, we show in healthy human participants that there is a bottom-up information flow from the OB to the PC in the beta and gamma frequency bands, while top-down information from the PC to the OB is facilitated by delta and theta oscillations. Importantly, we demonstrate that there was enough in-formation to decipher odor identity above chance from the low gamma in the OB-PC oscillatory circuit as early as 100ms after odor onset. These data further our understanding of the critical role of bidirectional information flow in human sensory systems to produce perception. However, future studies are needed to determine what specific odor information is extracted and communicated in the information exchange.
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