Reduced olfactory bulb volume and olfactory sensitivity in patients with acute major depression

Neuroscience. 2010 Aug 11;169(1):415-21. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.05.012. Epub 2010 May 13.


The purpose of this study was to assess olfactory function and olfactory bulb volume in patients with acute major depression in comparison to a normal population. Twenty-one patients diagnosed with acute major depressive disorder and 21 healthy controls matched by age, sex and smoking behavior participated in this study. Olfactory function was assessed in a lateralized fashion using measures of odor threshold, discrimination and identification. Olfactory bulb volumes were calculated by manual segmentation of acquired T2-weighted coronal slices according to a standardized protocol. Patients with acute major depressive disorder showed significantly lower olfactory sensitivity and smaller olfactory bulb volumes. Additionally, a significant negative correlation between olfactory bulb volume and depression scores was detected. Their results provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, of decreased olfactory bulb volume in patients with acute major depression. These results might be related to reduced neurogenesis in major depression that could be reflected also at the level of the olfactory bulb.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / complications
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / pathology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / physiopathology
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurogenesis
  • Olfaction Disorders / complications
  • Olfaction Disorders / pathology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / pathology*
  • Olfactory Perception
  • Organ Size
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Young Adult