Responses of receptor cells in the frog's olfactory epithelium were recorded using platinum-black metal-filled microelectrodes. Spontaneous activity varied over a wide range from 0.07 to 1.8 spikes/s. Mean interspike intervals ranged from 13.7 to 0.5 s. Excitatory responses to six sterically related compounds at low concentrations were investigated. Stimuli were delivered in an aqueous medium. Thresholds for impulse initiation varied from greater than 1 mM down to the nanomolar concentration range. Thresholds of different olfactory receptors to the same stimulus could vary by several log units. Thresholds of the same receptor cell to different stimuli could be within the same order of magnitude, or could vary by as much as 5 log units. Based upon quantitative measures of stimulus-evoked excitatory responses it appeared that some receptors did not discriminate among sterically related molecules, whereas other receptors clearly discriminated between stimuli which evoke similar odor sensations.

This content is only available as a PDF.