Chemosensitivity of rat nasal trigeminal receptors

Physiol Behav. 1982 May;28(5):927-31. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(82)90216-5.


Electrophysiological responses to odorants delivered via an air dilution olfactometer were recorded from the ethmoid branch of the trigeminal nerve innervating the nasal cavity. Thresholds were obtained for nine compounds with those for heptanol (21-137 ppm) and propionic acid (39-49) ppm consistently being the lowest. Not all odorants e.g., phenethyl alcohol, elicited responses in all rats even at vapor saturation. A striking degree of correlation was present between the rat whole-nerve electrophysiological response magnitudes of this study and the human anosmic intensity ratings established in the work of Doty et al. [9] to vapor saturated stimuli. These results suggest that the rat is an excellent model for assessing the stimulatory effectiveness of odorants on human trigeminal receptors. The possible role of the trigeminal system in the perception of odors as well as the physiologic effects of odorants due to trigeminal stimulation are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nasal Mucosa / innervation*
  • Odorants*
  • Olfaction Disorders / physiopathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiology*