cAMP and cGMP in nasal mucus related to severity of smell loss in patients with smell dysfunction

Clin Invest Med. 2008;31(2):E78-84. doi: 10.25011/cim.v31i2.3367.


Purpose: To evaluate nasal mucus levels of cAMP and cGMP in patients with taste and smell dysfunction with respect to severity of their smell loss.

Methods: cAMP and cGMP were measured in nasal mucus using a sensitive spectrophotometric 96 plate ELISA technique. Smell loss was measured in patients with taste and smell dysfunction by standardized psychophysical measurements of olfactory function and classified by severity of loss into four types from most severe to least severe such that anosmia > Type I hyposmia > Type II hyposmia > Type III hyposmia. Measurements of nasal mucus cyclic nucleotides and smell loss were made independently.

Results: As smell loss severity increased stepwise cAMP and cGMP levels decreased stepwise [cAMP, cGMP (in pmol/ml); anosmia - 0.004, 0.008: Type I hyposmia - 0.12+/-0.03, 0.10+/-0.03: Type II hyposmia - 0.15+/-0.02, 0.16+/-0.01: Type III hyposmia - 0.23+/-0.05, 0.20+/-0.15].

Conclusions: These results confirm the association of biochemical changes in cyclic nucleotides with systematic losses of smell acuity. These results confirm the usefulness of the psychophysical methods we defined to determine the systematic classification of smell loss severity. These changes can form the basis for the biochemical definition of smell loss among some patients with smell loss as well as for their therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Nasal Mucosa / pathology
  • Olfaction Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sensation Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Sensation Disorders / pathology*
  • Smell*
  • Spectrophotometry / methods


  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclic GMP