Correlation between olfactory bulb volume and olfactory function

Neuroimage. 2008 Aug 15;42(2):498-502. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.05.004. Epub 2008 May 10.


The olfactory bulb (OB) is considered to be the most important relay station in odor processing. Involving 125 randomly selected subjects (58 men, 67 women; age range: 19 to 79 years), the present study aimed to investigate a possible correlation between OB volume and specific olfactory functions including odor threshold, odor discrimination, and odor identification. The history of all participants was taken in great detail to exclude possible causes of smell dysfunction. All participants received an otolaryngological investigation including a volumetric scan of the brain (MRI), lateralized olfactory tests and a screen for cognitive impairment. Volumetric measurements of the right and left OB were performed by manual segmentation of the coronal slices through the OB. Significant correlations between OB volumes in relation to olfactory function were observed, independent of the subjects' age. Additionally, OB volumes decreased with age. In agreement with previous research the present study confirmed the correlation between OB volume and specific olfactory functions. Furthermore, the correlation between OB volume and olfactory function was not mediated by the subjects' age. In conclusion, the present data obtained from a relatively large group of subjects forms the basis for age-related normative values of OB volumes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Organ Size / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology*
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Young Adult