COURTESY OF ALAN CARLETON
EDITOR'S CHOICE IN NEUROSCIENCE
M.A. Patterson et al., “Odor representations in the olfactory bulb evolve after the first breath and persist as an odor afterimage,” PNAS, 110:E3340-49, 2013.
Afterimages are the lingering sensations of a stimulus that is no longer present. Taste, vision, hearing, and touch can all induce afterimages, and now, Alan Carleton of the University of Geneva and his colleagues have described the phenomenon in mouse olfaction. They showed that even after an odor is removed, some neurons persist in their odor-specific activity.
Carleton’s group found little activity in olfactory glomeruli, where incoming sensory neurons terminate, once an odor was removed. However, activity continued in some olfactory neurons located downstream from...