Are Small Olfactory Bulbs a Risk for Olfactory Loss Following an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection?

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2015 Nov;272(11):3593-4. doi: 10.1007/s00405-015-3524-x. Epub 2015 Jan 30.


Considering the correlation between olfactory function and size of the human olfactory bulb (OB), it may be that OB volume is representative of the average number of functional olfactory receptor neurons in the nose. We observed a woman (64-year-old) with a 3-week history of hyposmia following an upper respiratory tract infection. Interestingly, both OB volumes were below the tenth percentile of the general population which seems to be difficult to explain by rapid, adaptive changes in the OB volume. It is hypothesized that small OBs may be a risk factor for acquiring olfactory loss.

Keywords: Anosmia; Flavor; MRI; Smell.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Nose / physiopathology
  • Olfaction Disorders / etiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / anatomy & histology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / pathology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications*
  • Risk Factors