Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Olfactory Bulb, The

  • Angela Lambrou LoucaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1016-1



A structure located in the forebrain of vertebrates that receives neural input about odors detected by cells in the nasal cavity.


The environment, if filled with odorant molecules, and our emotions, moods, and behaviors may be controlled by olfactory stimuli. The first steps in processing olfactory signals are transducing and relaying odorant information centrally from olfactory receptor neurons (Purves et al. 2001). Receptor axons combine to form a large number of bundles making up the olfactory nerve. The target of the olfactory nerve on each side is the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb is an evaginated cortical structure that lies on the ventral anterior aspect of the ipsilateral forebrain and contains two main types of projection neurons and interneurons that receive primary afferent input from sensory neurons (Greer et al. 2008).

The Architecture of the Olfactory Bulb

The main olfactory bulb has a...


Olfactory Bulb Tufted Cells Odor Receptor External Plexiform Layer (EPL) Glomerular Convergence 
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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Al Yamani, J., Boussaid, F., Bermak, A., & Martinez, D. (2012). Glomerular latency coding in artificial olfaction. Frontiers in neuroengineering, 4, 18.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Axel, R. (1995). The molecular logic of smell. Scientific American, 273(4), 154–159.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhatnagar, K. P., Kennedy, R. C., Baron, G., & Greenberg, R. A. (1987). Number of mitral cells and the bulb volume in the aging human olfactory bulb: A quantitative morphological study. The Anatomical Record, 218(1), 73–87.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bozza, T. C., & Kauer, J. S. (1998). Odorant response properties of convergent olfactory receptor neurons. Journal of Neuroscience, 18(12), 4560–4569.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Buck, L. B. (1996). Information coding in the vertebrate olfactory system. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 19(1), 517–544.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Buck, L., & Axel, R. (1991). A novel multigene family may encode odorant receptors: A molecular basis for odor recognition. Cell, 65(1), 175–187.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Buonviso, N., & Chaput, M. A. (1990). Response similarity to odors in olfactory bulb output cells presumed to be connected to the same glomerulus: Electrophysiological study using simultaneous single-unit recordings. Journal of Neurophysiology, 63(3), 447–454.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bushdid, C., Magnasco, M. O., Vosshall, L. B., & Keller, A. (2014). Humans can discriminate more than 1 trillion olfactory stimuli. Science, 343(6177), 1370–1372.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Greer, C. A., Whitman, M. C., Rela, L., Imamura, F., & Rodriguez Gil, D. (2008). 4.36-architecture of the olfactory bulb. In The senses: A comprehensive reference (Vol. 4, pp. 623–640) Elsevier.Google Scholar
  10. Imamura, K., Mataga, N., & Mori, K., ibid. 68, 1986 (1992).Google Scholar
  11. Katoh, K., Koshimoto, H., & Tani A., Mori, ibid. 70, 2161 (1993).Google Scholar
  12. Kauer, J. S., & Cinelli, A. R. (1993). Are there structural and functional modules in the vertebrate olfactory bulb? Microscopy Research and Technique, 24(2), 157–167.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Laurent, G. (1999). A systems perspective on early olfactory coding. Science, 286(5440), 723–728.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Maresh, A., Gil, D. R., Whitman, M. C., & Greer, C. A. (2008). Principles of glomerular organization in the human olfactory bulb–implications for odor processing. PLoS One, 3(7), e2640.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Meisami, E., Mikhail, L., Baim, D., & Bhatnagar, K. P. (1998). Human olfactory bulb: Aging of glomeruli and mitral cells and a search for the accessory olfactory bulb. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 855(1), 708–715.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Merrick, C., Godwin, C., Geisler, M., & Morsella, E. (2014). The olfactory system as the gateway to the neural correlates of consciousness. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 1011.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. Mori, K., Nagao, H., & Yoshihara, Y. (1999). The olfactory bulb: Coding and processing of odor molecule information. Science, 286(5440), 711–715.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Murphy, C., Morgan, C. D., Geisler, M. W., Wetter, S., Covington, J. W., Madowitz, M. D., … Polich, J. M. (2000). Olfactory event-related potentials and aging: Normative data. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 36(2), 133–145.Google Scholar
  19. Nagayama, S., Homma, R., & Imamura, F. (2014). Neuronal organization of olfactory bulb circuits. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 8, 98.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Ngai, J., Chess, A., Dowling, M. M., Necles, N., Macagno, E. R., & Axel, R. (1993). Coding of olfactory information: Topography of odorant receptor expression in the catfish olfactory epithelium. Cell, 72(5), 667–680.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Pinching, A. J., & Powell, T. P. S. (1971). The neuron types of the glomerular layer of the olfactory bulb. Journal of Cell Science, 9(2), 305–345.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Purves, D., Augustine, G. J., Fitzpatrick, D., et al. (Eds.). (2001). Neuroscience (2nd ed.). Sunderland: Sinauer Associates. The Olfactory Bulb. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11158/.Google Scholar
  23. Rall, W., Shepherd, G., Reese, T. S., & Brightman, M. W. (1966). Dendrodendritic synaptic pathway for inhibition in the olfactory bulb. Experimental Neurology, 14(1), 44–56.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Ressler, K. J., Sullivan, S. L., & Buck, L. B. (1994). Information coding in the olfactory system: Evidence for a stereotyped and highly organized epitope map in the olfactory bulb. Cell, 79(7), 1245–1255.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Scott, J. W., Wellis, D. P., Riggott, M. J., & Buonviso, N. (1993). Functional organization of the main olfactory bulb. Microscopy Research and Technique, 24(2), 142–156.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Sullivan, S. L., Ressler, K. J., & Buck, L. B. (1995). Spatial patterning and information coding in the olfactory system. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development, 5(4), 516–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Trombley, P. Q., & Shepherd, G. M. (1993). Synaptic transmission and modulation in the olfactory bulb. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 3(4), 540–547.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Turetsky, B. I., Moberg, P. J., Yousem, D. M., Doty, R. L., Arnold, S. E., & Gur, R. E. (2000). Reduced olfactory bulb volume in patients with schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 157(5), 828–830.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. van Hartevelt, T. J., & Kringelbach, M. L. (2012). The olfactory system. In The human nervous system (pp. 1219–1238) Elsevier.Google Scholar
  30. Vassar, R., et al. (1994). Topographic organization of sensory projections to the olfactory bulb. Cell, 79, 981. Ressler, K. J., Sullivan, S. L., & Buck, L. B., ibid., p. 1245.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Xiong, W., & Chen, W. R. (2002). Dynamic gating of spike propagation in the mitral cell lateral dendrites. Neuron, 34(1), 115–126.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Yokoi, M., Mori, K., & Nakanishi, S. (1995). Refinement of odor molecule tuning by dendrodendritic synaptic inhibition in the olfactory bulb. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 92(8), 3371–3375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yoshishara, Y., et al. (1997). Basic principles and molecular mechanisms of olfactory axon pathfinding, 17, ibid p. 5830. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NicosiaNicosiaCyprus

Section editors and affiliations

  • Menelaos Apostolou
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NicosiaNicosiaCyprus