Differences in anosmic and normosmic group in bimodal odorant perception: a functional- MRI study

Rhinology. 2011 Oct;49(4):458-63. doi: 10.4193/Rhino11.110.


So-called bimodal odorants are able to stimulate the intranasal trigeminal system at relatively low concentrations. Using them as stimuli, the current study focused on the interaction between the olfactory and trigeminal systems at a cerebral level. In the experiment, menthol was used at two concentrations, low and high, and these were delivered to two groups of subjects, a healthy control group and an anosmic group who were unable to perceive smells. A computer-controlled olfactometer based on principles of air-dilution was used to deliver the stimuli, while the brain functions were assessed by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technique. SPM5 was used for data analysis. The results showed that normosmic subjects exhibited activation in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), prefrontal cortex (PFC), and cerebellum. Whilst anosmic subjects activated the same area inside the anterior cingulate; moreover a cluster of activation was found in the left parahippocampal gyrus. In controls, an effect of stimulus intensity was localized between the anterior cingulated, the medial frontal gyrus and the cerebellum; such areas could not be found in anosmic subjects. These results suggest that the olfactory system modifies trigeminally mediated information causing an evident effect in the differentiation between stimulus intensities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Menthol
  • Middle Aged
  • Odorants*
  • Olfaction Disorders
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiology*


  • Menthol