Response of Olfactory Receptor Cells, Isolated and in Situ, to Low Concentrations of Odorants

  • Stephan Frings
  • Bernd Lindemann
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 39)


To study vertebrate olfactory receptor neurons by patch clamp methods, the cells are often dissociated from the mucosa and kept in isolation during stimulation with odorants dissolved in the bathing solution (1,3,4,5,9,10,11,13,15). However, disappointingly large concentrations of odorants are required to stimulate such cells, if they can be stimulated at all. Using a similar method with frog olfactory cells, we noted that somewhat better odorant responses were obtained if proteolytic enzymes were not used during cell isolation (while the Ca concentrations was kept at 1–5 μM), and if the cells patched were not attached to the bottom of the chamber but freely moving — by means of their sensory cilia — in the bathing solution. The bath concentration of cineole had to be in the order of 500 nanomolar to elicit a response (5). This seemed a reasonable concentration because most published responses, recorded from olfactory nerve fibers, required even larger (micromolar) concentrations of odorants in the mucosal compartment (see Table 3 of ref. 5).


Slow Wave Olfactory Receptor Olfactory Epithelium Current Transient Spike Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Anderson, P.A.V., Hamilton, K.A. 1987. Intracellular recordings from isolated salamander olfactory receptor neurons. Neuroscience 21: 167–173PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Andres, K.H. 1969. Der olfaktorische Saum der Katze. Zeitschrift für Zellforschung 96: 250–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Firestein, S., Werblin, F.S. 1987. Gated currents in isolated olfactory receptor neurons of the larval tiger salamander. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 84: 6292–6296PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Firestein, S., Werblin, F.S. 1989. Odor-induced membrane currents in vertebrate-olfactory receptor neurons. Science 244: 79–82PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Frings, S., Lindemann, B. 1988. Odorant response of isolated olfactory receptor cells is blocked by amiloride. J. Membrane Biol. 105: 233–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gesteland, R.C. 1971. Neural coding in olfactory receptor cells. Chapter 6 in Handbook of Sensory Physiology Volume IV, pp 132–150Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Getchell, T.V. 1974. Unitary responses in frog olfactory epithelium to sterically related molecules at low concentrations. J. Gen. Physiol. 64: 241–261PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gulrajani, R.M., Roberge, A. 1977. Possible mechanisms underlying bursting pacemaker discharges in invertebrate neurons. Fed. Proc. 37: 2146–2152Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kurahashi, T., Shibuya, T. 1989. Membrane responses and permeability changes to odorants in the solitary olfactory receptor cells of newt. Zoological Science 6: 1930Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lynch, J.W., Barry, P.H., 1989. Action potentials initiated by single channels opening in a small neuron (rat olfactory receptor). Biophysical J. 55: 755–768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Maue, R.A., Dionne, V.E. 1987. Patch-clamp studies of isolated mouse olfactory receptor neurons. J. Gen. Physiol. 90: 95–125PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Masukawa, L.M., Hedlund, B., Shepherd, G.M. 1985. Electrophysiogical properties of identified cells in the in vitro olfactory epithelium of the tiger salamander. J. Neurosciences 5: 128–135Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nakamura, T., Gold, G.H. 1987. A cyclic nucleotide-gated conductance in olfactory receptor cilia. Nature (London) 325: 442–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Oiki, S., Okada, Y. 1988. Factors responsible foroscillations of membrane potential recorded with tight-seal patch electrodes in mouse fibroblasts. J. Membrane Biol. 105: 23–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Trotier, D. 1986. A patch-clamp analysis of membrane currents in salamander olfactory receptor cells. Pflügers Arch. 407: 589–595PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan Frings
    • 1
  • Bernd Lindemann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversität des SaarlandesHomburgWest Germany

Personalised recommendations