Basic anatomy and physiology of olfaction and taste

Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2004 Dec;37(6):1115-26. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2004.06.009.


The chemical senses of taste and smell are important to survival and quality of life. Both senses rely on the binding of odorant molecules to receptors located on the receptor cells. Olfaction and gustation have complex systems of coding, but they display differing methods for coding the receptor stimulus. Both have numerous central projections that allow for the perception and interpretation of these important sensory inputs.

MeSH terms

  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Olfactory Bulb / anatomy & histology*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / physiology
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / anatomy & histology
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Taste / physiology*