The importance of olfaction to human health and disease is often underappreciated. Olfactory dysfunction has been reported in association with a host of common complex diseases, including neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. For health, olfaction or the sense of smell is also important for most mammals, for optimal engagement with their environment. Indeed, animals have developed sophisticated olfactory systems to detect and interpret the rich information presented to them to assist in day-to-day activities such as locating food sources, differentiating food from poisons, identifying mates, promoting reproduction, avoiding predators, and averting death. In this context, the olfactory bulb is a vital component of the olfactory system receiving sensory information from the axons of the olfactory receptor neurons located in the nasal cavity and the first place that processes the olfactory information. We report in this study original observations on the human olfactory bulb proteome in healthy subjects, using a high-resolution mass spectrometry-based proteomic approach. We identified 7750 nonredundant proteins from human olfactory bulbs. Bioinformatics analysis of these proteins showed their involvement in biological processes associated with signal transduction, metabolism, transport, and olfaction. These new observations provide a crucial baseline molecular profile of the human olfactory bulb proteome, and should assist the future discovery of biomarker proteins and novel diagnostics associated with diseases characterized by olfactory dysfunction.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease; biomarkers; olfactory bulb; proteomics.