Olfactory Function in Acute Rhinitisa

Authors

  • T. HUMMEL,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden, Fetscherstr. 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany
    2. Smell and Taste Center, Department of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA
      Correspondence to: Thomas Hummel, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden, Fetscherstr. 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany. Tel: +49-351-458-4420; fax: +49-351-458-4326; email: hummeltca@compuserve.com
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  • C. ROTHBAUER,

    1. Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Krankenhausstr. 9, 91054 Erlangen, Germany
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  • S. BARZ,

    1. Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Krankenhausstr. 9, 91054 Erlangen, Germany
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  • K. GROSSER,

    1. Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Krankenhausstr. 9, 91054 Erlangen, Germany
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  • E. PAULI,

    1. Department of Neurology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Schwabachanlage 6, 91054 Erlangen, Germany
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  • G. KOBALD

    1. Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Krankenhausstr. 9, 91054 Erlangen, Germany
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  • a

    This research was supported by Bayer Vital GmbH & Co. KG, Köln, Germany, and Grant P01 DC 00161 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, USA.

Correspondence to: Thomas Hummel, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden, Fetscherstr. 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany. Tel: +49-351-458-4420; fax: +49-351-458-4326; email: hummeltca@compuserve.com

Abstract

ABSTRACT: This study was performed to investigate the effects of the common cold on olfactory function, which was assessed using chemosensory event-related potentials (CSERP, in response to both olfactory [H2S] and trigeminal [CO2] stimuli) and psychophysical measures (intensity ratings, odor discrimination, butanol threshold); nasal volume was assessed by means of acoustic rhinometry. The investigation was performed in 36 subjects (18 women, 18 men). After onset of the rhinitis (day 0) measurements were performed on days 2, 4, 6 and 35. The cold produced a decrease of the volume of the anterior nasal cavity accompanied by an increase of mucus secretion, an increase of olfactory thresholds, a decrease of intensity ratings and a decrease of N1 CSERP amplitudes to olfactory and trigeminal stimuli. When mucus secretion of the contralateral nasal cavity was controlled with oxymetazoline, N1 amplitudes to olfactory stimuli were still affected by the cold as indicated by the significant increase of amplitudes as subjects recovered; this phenomenenon was not found for responses to trigeminal stimuli. This indicates that the common cold has a small effect on olfactory function which may be independent of nasal congestion.

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