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Loss of Trigeminal Sensitivity Reduces Olfactory Function

Authors

  • Alexander Husner MD,

    1. Smell & Taste Clinic, Departments of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden Medical School (“Technische Universität Dresden”), Dresden, Germany
    2. Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Hospital of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
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  • Johannes Frasnelli MD,

    1. Smell & Taste Clinic, Departments of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden Medical School (“Technische Universität Dresden”), Dresden, Germany
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  • Antje Welge-Lüssen MD,

    1. Smell & Taste Clinic, Departments of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden Medical School (“Technische Universität Dresden”), Dresden, Germany
    2. Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Hospital of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
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  • Gilfe Reiss MD,

    1. Neurosurgery, University of Dresden Medical School (“Technische Universität Dresden”), Dresden, Germany
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  • Thomas Zahnert MD,

    1. Smell & Taste Clinic, Departments of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden Medical School (“Technische Universität Dresden”), Dresden, Germany
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  • Thomas Hummel MD, PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Smell & Taste Clinic, Departments of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden Medical School (“Technische Universität Dresden”), Dresden, Germany
    • Thomas Hummel, MD, Smell & Taste Clinic, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden Medical School (“Technische Universität Dresden”), Fetscherstrasse 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany.
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Abstract

The trigeminal and olfactory nerves share overlapping innervation areas in the nasal cavity and seem to work in an interactive way. Loss of olfactory function leads to a decreased trigeminal sensitivity, as shown in anosmic subjects. To report the impact of disturbed trigeminal sensitivity on the olfactory function, we present a patient with unilateral loss of trigeminal function resulting from a meningeoma. Thresholds to a selective olfactory stimulus were elevated by a factor of 64 on the affected side. Recordings of event-related potentials in response to olfactory stimuli showed a significantly reduced response on the affected side. This report indicates that loss of trigeminal function may affect the sense of smell.

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