Olfactory Dysfunction and Disorders | PPT Download

January 17, 2013 | By | Reply More

Olfactory Dysfunction and Disorders | PPT Download

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Olfactory Dysfunction and Disorders




Importance of olfaction:

Determines the flavor of foods and beverages

Early warning system for detection of environmental hazards.


2 million Americans

At least 1% population under age of 65 and well over 50% over age 65


Anatomy and Physiology

3 neural systems

CN I: main olfactory system

Mediates odor sensation

CN V: trigeminal somatosensory system

Mediates somatosensory sensation

CN 0: nervus terminalis

Unknown exact function in humans

Olfactory Epithelium

Pseudostratified columnar epithelium

Located in the upper recesses of the nasal chambers

Cribriform plate, superior turbinate, superior septum, section of middle turbinate

Harbors sensory receptors of CN I

Cell Types in Olfactory Epithelium

Bipolar sensory receptor neurons

6,000,000 cells in adults

Olfactory receptors located on the ciliated dendritic ends

Axons form 40 bundles as olfactory fila

Microvillar cells

Near the surface of epithelium

Exact function unknown




Cell Types

Supporting cells

Insulate receptor cells

Regulate mucus composition

Deactivate odorants

Protect epithelium from foreign agents

Globose basal cells

Horizontal basal cells

Cells lining Bowman’s gland

Olfactory Neuroepithelium

Olfactory Sensory Receptor Neuron


Located on cilia of receptor cells

1000 classes – 1% of all expressed genes

Linked to guanine nucleotide binding protein->activate adenylate cyclase-> cAMP->depolarization

One cell- one type of receptor

Olfactory Bulb

Located on top of cribriform plate at the base of frontal lobe

Complex processing center

Receives receptor cell axons

Olfactory tract projects to olfactory cortex

Frontal lobe, temporal lobe, thalamus, hypothalamus

Classification of Olfactory Disorders

Anosmia: absence of smell sensation

Partial anosmia: ability to perceive some, but not all, odorants

Hyposmia: decreased sensitivity to odorants

Hyperosmia: abnormally acute smell function

Dysosmia: distorted smell perception

Phantosmia: olfactory hallucination

Olfactory agnosia: inability to recognize an odor



Conductive loss

Obstruction of nasal passages

E.g., chronic nasal inflammation, polyposis

Sensorineural loss

Damage to neuroepithelium

E.g., viral infection, airborne toxin

Central olfactory neural loss

CNS damage

E.g., tumors, neurodegenerative disorders

Evaluation and Diagnosis

History: most important

Olfactory ability prior to the loss

Antecedent events (head trauma, URI)


Onset (gradual vs. acute)


Other medical conditions

Nasal sinus disease and allergy

Previous surgery



History (cont)


Smoking history

Occupational history

Any complaint of taste loss


Evaulation and Diagnosis

Physical exam:

Nasal endoscopy

Neurological exam

Laboratory tests:

Suggested by history and PE only

Radiographic Imaging:

CT: nasal and sinus disease

MRI: intracranial causes

Evaluation and Diagnosis

University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT)

4 booklets of 10 microencapsulated odors

Scratch and sniff format

Four responses accompanying each odor

Forced choice design

Scores are compared to norms (sex- and age-related)


UPSIT (cont)

Scores classified into:

Normal        36-40

Partial anosmia    20-35

Total anosmia      8-15

Probable malingering  0-5

Reliability is very high

Post Upper Respiratory Infection

Sensorineural loss

The most frequent cause of smell loss in adults

More common in middle or older age group



Post URI


follows a viral-like URI, usually more severe than usual

Loss is most commonly partial

Occasionally with dysosmia or phantosmia

PE: unremarkable


Post URI

Mechanism: unclear

Direct insult to neuroepithelium

Greatly reduced number of olfactory receptors

Dendrites do not reach surface

Lack sensory cilia

Replacement of sensory epithelium with respiratory epithelium

Ascends to the olfactory tracts or bulbs


Post Viral Olfactory Disorder

Olfactory cells decreased in number

Two cilia on olfactory vesicle


Post URI

Worst case: severe destruction, no regeneration -> anosmia

Mild case:

patchy destruction -> hyposmia

Complete regeneration -> normosmia

Patchy regeneration or faulty regeneration -> dysosmia


Post URI

Treatment: no effective treatment


Complete recovery in 3 weeks or permanent dysfunction

Meaningful recovery is rare

Head injury


4-7% in early studies

Reaching 50% in recent studies

Generally associated with the severity of the injury

Heywood  (1990) matched GCS with olfactory test scores

Lower GCS score, higher percentage of patients with olfactory impairment



Head Injury


Sinonasal tract alteration

Direct injury to olfactory epithelium (mucosal edema, hematoma)

Nasal skeleton fracture

Post-traumatic rhinosinusitis

Potentially treatable

Shearing injury

Tearing or shearing the axons

With naso-orbito-ethmoid region fracture

Translational shifts in the brain secondary to coup or contracoup forces


Head Injury

Mechanism (con):

Brain contusion or hemorrhage


Irreversible most of time

Prognosis worsen with time


Post Traumatic Injury

Olfactory cells decreased in number

Olfactory receptor is aciliate

Nasal and Sinus Disorders

Traditionally viewed as conductive loss

Airflow blockage caused by rhinosinusitis prevent odorant molecules from reaching epithelium

Surgery or medical treatment alone not effective

Defining factor may be the severity of the histopathological change

Nasal and Sinus disorder

Doty and Mishra (2001):

Degree of olfactory loss is associated with the severity of nasal sinus disease

Improve with systemic steroid and topical steroid

No documented relationship between olfactory test scores and intranasal airway access factors

Chronic inflammation may be toxic to olfactory mucosa

Thin, atrophic epithelium

Respiratory epithelium replaces sensory epithelium

Nasal and Sinus Disorder

Doty and Mishra (2001)

Septoplaty and rhinoplasty do not have long-term deleterious effect

Improvement of olfactory function postoperatively with sinus surgery (incomplete)


Other Causes of Olfactory Disorders






Neurodegenerative disorder (Parkinson, Alzheimer disease)


Treatment of Olfactory Disorder

Conductive loss: relieve obstruction

Allergy management

Topical cromolyn

Topical and systemic corticosteroids

Surgical procedure

Sensorineural loss: no effective treatment





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