Neuronal synchronization in the olfactory bulb has been proposed to arise from a diffuse action of glutamate released from mitral cells (MC, olfactory bulb relay neurons). According to this hypothesis, glutamate spills over from dendrodendritic synapses formed between MC and granule cells (GC, olfactory bulb interneurons) to activate neighboring MC. The excitation of MC is balanced by a strong inhibition from GC. Here we show that MC excitation is caused by glutamate released from bulbar interneurons located in the GC layer. These reciprocal synapses depend on an unusual, 2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid-resistant, N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor. This type of feedback excitation onto relay neurons may strengthen the original sensory input signal and further extend the function of the dendritic microcircuit within the main olfactory bulb
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