Functional magnetic resonance imaging of human olfaction

Neuroimaging Clin N Am. 2001 May;11(2):237-50, viii.


Olfaction is our basic sense phylogenetically and embryologically. Little is known, however, about how the human brain encodes the quality of odors, odor-associated memories, and emotions. Olfactory information is projected from the olfactory bulb to the primary olfactory cortex, which is composed of the anterior olfactory nucleus, the olfactory tubercle, the piriform cortex, the amygdala, the periamygdaloid region, and the entorhinal cortex. From there, the primary olfactory cortex projects to secondary olfactory regions including the hippocampus, ventral striatum and pallidum, hypothalamus, thalamus, orbitofrontal cortex, agranular insular cortex, and cingulate gyrus. Functional MR studies using olfactory stimuli as paradigms show activation of many of these areas and can advance our understanding of odor perception in humans.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Olfactory Bulb / anatomy & histology
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Olfactory Nerve / anatomy & histology
  • Olfactory Nerve / physiology*
  • Olfactory Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology
  • Smell / physiology*