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Current source density analysis of electroantennogram recordings: A tool for mapping the olfactory response in an insect antenna

Jacob V.. 2018. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 12 : 19 p..

The set of chemosensory receptors expressed by the olfactory receptor neurons lying in an insect's antennae and maxillary palps define the ability of this insect to perceive the volatile chemicals of its environment. The main two electrophysiological methods of antennal recordings for studying the range of chemicals that activate chemosensory receptors have limitations. Single-sensillum recording (SSR) samples a subset of olfactory receptor neurons and therefore does not reveal the full capacity of an insect to perceive an odor. Electroantennography (EAG), even if less resolutive than SSRs, is sometimes preferred since it samples the activity of a large number of the olfactory receptor neurons. But, at least in flies, the amplitude of the EAG signal is not directly correlated with the degree of sensitivity of the insect to the olfactory compound. Such dual methodology was also used to study mammalian brains, and the current source density (CSD) analysis was developed to bridge the gap between the cellular and the population recordings. This paper details the use of a similar approach adapted to the study of olfactory responses within insects with bulbous antennae. The EAG was recorded at multiple antennal positions and the CSD that generates the EAG potentials were estimated. The method measures the activation of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) across the antennae and thus it quantifies the olfactory sensitivity of the insect. It allows a rapid mapping of olfactory responses and thus can be used to guide further SSRs or to determine that two chemicals are detected by independent ORNs. This study further explored biases resulting from a limited number of recording positions or from an approximation of the antennal geometry that should be considered for interpreting the CSD maps. It also shows that the CSD analysis of EAGs is compatible with a gas chromatograph stimulator for analyzing the response to complex odors. Finally, I discuss the origin of the EAG signal in light of the CSD theory.

Thématique : Physiologie et biochimie animales; Autres thèmes

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