Olfaction and Its Correlates in Allergic Rhinitis: A Case Control Study

  • Neelima GuptaEmail author
  • Anshika Harit
  • H. C. Taneja
  • Raj Kumar
  • A. K. Tripathi
Original Article


Olfactory dysfunction is frequent in rhinological disease. It has been attributed to nasal obstruction leading to impairment of transport of odorants to the olfactory epithelium or to inflammation in the olfactory cleft. We assessed olfaction in allergic rhinitis and correlated the olfactory score with other variables; in order to elucidate the pathogenesis of olfactory impairment in allergic rhinitis. Forty patients of allergic rhinitis (skin prick test positive) and forty healthy controls were included. The groups were evaluated for olfactory score, nasal airflow, peripheral eosinophilia, and levels of IgE and IL-5 in nasal secretions. The combined olfactory score in the patients was lower than that in controls. The score was better in patients with a better nasal airflow, but no significant association was found between the two. The peripheral eosinophilia and IgE and IL-5 level in nasal secretions was significantly higher in patients but demonstrated no significant correlation with the olfactory score. Allergic rhinitis patients had a decreased olfactory score; which weakly correlated to the nasal airflow. Local IgE and IL-5 were elevated in allergic rhinitis but did not show a significant correlation with olfactory scores. Our study concludes that both factors exist in allergic rhinitis but which factor is significantly responsible for hyposmia is not clear.


Olfaction Allergic rhinitis Hyposmia Inflammatory markers 



Professor P P Singh, Head of the department provided infrastructure support and research support. The study was funded by an Intramural Grant from the University College of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi. Since it was an internal Grant provided to postgraduate students for research it did not have a Grant number.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. 1.
    Guilemany JM, Garcia-Pinero A, Alobid I, Caedelus S, Centellas S, Bartra J et al (2009) Persistent allergic rhinitis has a moderate impact on the sense of smell, depending on both nasal congestion and inflammation. Laryngoscope 119:233–238CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Stuck BA, Hummel T (2015) Olfaction in allergic rhinitis: a systematic review. J Allergy Clin Immunol 136(6):1460–1470. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.08.003 (Epub 2015 Sep 26) CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sanchez-Vallecillo MV, Fraire ME, Baena-Cagnani C, Zernotti ME (2012) Olfactory dysfunction in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. Int J Otolaryngol. doi: 10.1155/2012/327206 PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Baumann R, Rabaszowski M, Stenin I, Tilgner L, Scheckenbach K, Wiltfang J et al (2013) Comparison of the nasal release of IL-4, IL-10, IL-17, CCL13/MCP-4 and CCL26/eotaxin in allergic rhinitis during season and after allergen challenge. Am J Rhinol Allergy 27(4):266–272CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jalowayski A, Yuh Y (1983) Surgery for nasal obstruction-evaluation by rhinomanometry. Laryngoscope 93:341–345CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Vural C, Gungor A (2002) Variations of nasal nitric oxide in a subject with allergic rhinitis: a longitudinal study. Am J Otolaryngol 23(4):191–195CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cain WS, Gent JF, Goodspeed RB, Leonard G (1988) Evaluation of olfactory dysfunction in the connecticut chemosensory clinical research center. Laryngoscope 98(1):83–88CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lam HCK, Sung JKK, Abdullah VJ, Hasselt CA (2006) The combined olfactory test in a Chinese population. J Laryngol Otol 120:113–116CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Katotomichelakis M, Balatsouras D, Tripsianis G, Tsaroucha A, Homsioglou E, Danielides V (2007) Normative values of olfactory function testing using the Sniffin sticks. Laryngoscope 117:114–120CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Doty RL, Shaman P, Damm M (1984) Development of the university of the pennsylvania smell identification test: a standard microencapsulated test of olfactory function. Physiol Behav 32:489–502CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Doty RL, Marcus A, Lee WWW (1996) Development of the 12-item cross cultural smell identification test (CC-SIT). Laryngoscope 106:353–356CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gupta N, Singh PP, Goyal A, Bhatia D (2013) Assessment of Olfaction using the “l-Smell” test in an Indian Population—a pilot study. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 65(1):6–11. doi: 10.1007/s12070-012-0566-x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    McCaffery TV (2001) Nasal function and evaluation. In: Bailey BJ (ed) Bailey’s head and neck surgery, otorhinolaryngology, 3rd edn. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia, pp 261–271Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kramer MF, Ostertag P, Pfrogner E, Rasp G (2000) Nasal lnterleukin-5, Immunoglobulin E, eosinophilic cationic protein and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 in chronic sinusitis, allergic rhinitis and nasal polyposis. Laryngoscope 110:1056–1062CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gaur SN, Singh BP, Singh AB, Vijayan VK, Agarwal MK (2009) Guidelines for practice of allergen immunotherapy in India. Ind J. Allergy Asth Appl Immunol 23:1–20Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Miwa T, Furukawa M, Tsukatani T, Costanzo RM, DiNardo LJ, Reiter ER (2001) Impact of olfactory impairment on quality of life and disability. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 127:497–503CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Apter AJ, Gent JF, Frank ME (1999) Fluctuating olfactory sensitivity and distorted odor perception in allergic rhinitis. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 125:1005–1010CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Rydzewski B, Pruszewicz A, Sulkowski WJ (2000) Assessment of smell and taste in patients with allergic rhinitis. Acta Otolaryngol 120:323–326CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Klimek L, Eggers G (1997) Olfactory dysfunction in allergic rhinitis is related to nasal eosinophilic inflammation. J Allergy Clin Immunol 100:158–164CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Cowart J, Flynn-Rodden K, Mc Geady SJ, Lowry LD (1993) Hyposmia in allergic rhinitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 91:747–751CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Becker S, Pflugbeil C, Groger M, Cam’s M, Ledderose GJ, Kramer MF (2012) Olfactory dysfunction in seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis. Acta Otolaryngol 132:763–768CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ragab SM, Lund VJ, Saleh HA, Scadding G (2006) Nasal nitric oxide in objective evaluation of chronic rhinosinusitis therapy. Allergy 61:717–724CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kumar R, Gupta N, Goel N (2013) Correlation of atopy and FeNO in allergic rhinitis: an Indian study. Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci 55:79–83PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Otolaryngologists of India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neelima Gupta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anshika Harit
    • 1
  • H. C. Taneja
    • 1
  • Raj Kumar
    • 2
  • A. K. Tripathi
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB HospitalUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Respiratory Allergy and Applied Immunology, V P Chest InstituteUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB HospitalUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations