Olfaction under metabolic influences

Chem Senses. 2012 Nov;37(9):769-97. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjs059. Epub 2012 Jul 25.


Recently published work and emerging research efforts have suggested that the olfactory system is intimately linked with the endocrine systems that regulate or modify energy balance. Although much attention has been focused on the parallels between taste transduction and neuroendocrine controls of digestion due to the novel discovery of taste receptors and molecular components shared by the tongue and gut, the equivalent body of knowledge that has accumulated for the olfactory system, has largely been overlooked. During regular cycles of food intake or disorders of endocrine function, olfaction is modulated in response to changing levels of various molecules, such as ghrelin, orexins, neuropeptide Y, insulin, leptin, and cholecystokinin. In view of the worldwide health concern regarding the rising incidence of diabetes, obesity, and related metabolic disorders, we present a comprehensive review that addresses the current knowledge of hormonal modulation of olfactory perception and how disruption of hormonal signaling in the olfactory system can affect energy homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Energy Metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology
  • Hormones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism
  • Metabolic Diseases / pathology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Smell*


  • Hormones