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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 1614329, 8 pages
Review Article

The Role of Adult-Born Neurons in the Constantly Changing Olfactory Bulb Network

1Cellular Neurobiology Unit, Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Québec, Québec City, QC, Canada G1J 2G3
2Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Université Laval, Québec City, QC, Canada G1K 7P4

Received 1 June 2015; Accepted 6 September 2015

Academic Editor: James M. Wyss

Copyright © 2016 Sarah Malvaut and Armen Saghatelyan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The adult mammalian brain is remarkably plastic and constantly undergoes structurofunctional modifications in response to environmental stimuli. In many regions plasticity is manifested by modifications in the efficacy of existing synaptic connections or synapse formation and elimination. In a few regions, however, plasticity is brought by the addition of new neurons that integrate into established neuronal networks. This type of neuronal plasticity is particularly prominent in the olfactory bulb (OB) where thousands of neuronal progenitors are produced on a daily basis in the subventricular zone (SVZ) and migrate along the rostral migratory stream (RMS) towards the OB. In the OB, these neuronal precursors differentiate into local interneurons, mature, and functionally integrate into the bulbar network by establishing output synapses with principal neurons. Despite continuous progress, it is still not well understood how normal functioning of the OB is preserved in the constantly remodelling bulbar network and what role adult-born neurons play in odor behaviour. In this review we will discuss different levels of morphofunctional plasticity effected by adult-born neurons and their functional role in the adult OB and also highlight the possibility that different subpopulations of adult-born cells may fulfill distinct functions in the OB neuronal network and odor behaviour.