Chemosensory Perception

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 9–15 | Cite as

Ortho- and Retronasal Presentation of Olfactory Stimuli Modulates Odor Percepts

  • Johannes Frasnelli
  • Mary Ungermann
  • Thomas Hummel
Article

Abstract

Retronasal olfaction gives us information important not only for the well-being by detecting dangerous substances but also provides a basis for the pleasures of eating and drinking. However, odors presented via the retronasal route appear to evoke different sensations compared to orthonasal presentation. In this study, we differentially stimulated anterior and posterior parts of the subjects’ nasal cavity with odors. Subjects were able to tell retronasal and orthonasal smelling apart; the ability of doing so seemed to be linked to but could not completely be explained by the degree to which the odorant stimulated the trigeminal nerve. Furthermore, we examined whether food and nonfood odors were perceived as differently pleasant, depending on the presentation site. In fact, some but not all nonfood odors were described as less pleasant when they were delivered retronasally. In conclusion, the present results clearly suggest that there are differences between sensations produced by presenting odors through the retronasal or the orthonasal route, which bears significance for both basic and applied research.

Keywords

Retronasal Flavor Localization Lateralization 

Notes

Acknowledgment

This research was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG HU441/2). We would like to thank Dr. Stefan Heilmann for his help in collecting some of the data.

References

  1. Aitken RC (1969) Measurements of feelings using visual analogue scale. Proc R Soc Med 62:989–996Google Scholar
  2. Berg J, Hummel T, Huang G, Doty RL (1998) Trigeminal impact of odorants assessed with lateralized stimulation. Chem Senses 23:587Google Scholar
  3. Cerf-Ducastel B, Murphy C (2001) FMRI activation in response to odorants orally delivered in aqueous solutions Chem Senses 26:625–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Doty RL, Brugger WPE, Jurs PC, Orndorff MA, Snyder PJ, Lowry LD (1978) Intranasal trigeminal stimulation from odorous volatiles: psychometric responses from anosmic and normal humans. Physiol Behav 20:175–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Frasnelli J, Heilmann S, Hummel T (2004) Responsiveness of the human nasal mucosa to trigeminal stimuli depends on the site of stimulation. Neurosci Lett 362:65–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Frasnelli J, van Ruth S, Kriukova I, Hummel T (2005) Intranasal concentrations of orally administered flavors. Chem Senses 30:575–582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Halpern BP (2004) Retronasal and orthonasal smelling. ChemoSense 6:1–7Google Scholar
  8. Heilmann S, Hummel T (2004) A new method for comparing orthonasal and retronasal olfaction. Behav Neurosci 118:412–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hummel T, Futschik T, Frasnelli J, Huttenbrink KB (2003) Effects of olfactory function, age, and gender on trigeminally mediated sensations: a study based on the lateralization of chemosensory stimuli. Toxicol Lett 140–141:273–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hummel T, Heilmann S, Landis BN, Reden J, Frasnelli J, Small DM, Gerber J (2006) Perceptual differences between chemical stimuli presented through the ortho- or retronasal route. Flavor Fragr J 21:42–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kettenmann B, Hummel T, Kobal G (2001) Functional imaging of olfactory activation in the human brain. In: Simon SA, Nicolelis MAL (eds) Methods and frontiers in chemosensory research. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA pp 477–506Google Scholar
  12. Kobal G, Hummel T (1992) Olfactory evoked potential activity and hedonics. In: Van TS, Dodd GH (eds) Fragrance: the psychology and biology of perfume. Elsevier Applied Science, London pp 175–194Google Scholar
  13. Kobal G, Van Toller S, Hummel T (1989) Is there directional smelling? Experientia 45:130–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kobal G, Klimek L, Wolfensberger M, Gudziol H, Temmel A, Owen CM, Seeber H, Pauli E, Hummel T (2000) Multicenter investigation of 1,036 subjects using a standardized method for the assessment of olfactory function combining tests of odor identification, odor discrimination, and olfactory thresholds. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 257:205–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Laska M, Distel H, Hudson R (1997) Trigeminal perception of odorant quality in congenitally anosmic subjects. Chem Senses 22:447–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lotsch J, Hummel T (2006) The clinical significance of electrophysiological measures of olfactory function. Behav Brain Res 170:78–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mainland J, Sobel N (2006) The sniff is part of the olfactory percept. Chem Senses 31:181–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mozell MM (1964) Evidence for sorption as a mechanism of the olfactory analysis of vapours. Nature 203:1181–1182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mozell MM, Smith BP, Smith PE, Sullivan JRL, Swender P (1969) Nasal chemoreception in flavor identification. Arch Otolaryngol 90:367–373Google Scholar
  20. Pierce J, Halpern BP (1996) Orthonasal and retronasal odorant identification based upon vapor phase input from common substances. Chem Senses 21:529–543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ressler KJ, Sullivan SL, Buck LB (1993) A zonal organization of odorant receptor gene expression in the olfactory epithelium. Cell 73:597–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rozin P (1982) “Taste-smell confusions” and the duality of the olfactory sense. Percept Psychophys 31:397–401Google Scholar
  23. Savic I, Berglund H (2000) Right-nostril dominance in discrimination of unfamiliar, but not familiar, odours. Chem Senses 25:517–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Scott JW, Acevedo HP, Sherrill L, Phan M (2007) Responses of the rat olfactory epithelium to retronasal air flow. J Neurophysiol 97:1941–1950CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Small DM, Prescott J (2005) Odor/taste integration and the perception of flavor. Exp Brain Res 166:345–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Small DM, Jones-Gotman M, Zatorre RJ, Petrides M, Evans AC (1997) Flavor processing: more than the sum of its parts. Neuroreport 8:3913–3917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Small DM, Gerber JC, Mak YE, Hummel T (2005) Differential neural responses evoked by orthonasal versus retronasal odorant perception in humans. Neuron 47:593–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sun BC, Halpern BP (2005) Identification of air-phase retronasal and orthonasal odorant pairs. Chem Senses 30:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Visschers RW, Jacobs MA, Frasnelli J, Hummel T, Burgering M, Boelrijk AE (2006) Cross-modality of texture and aroma perception is independent of orthonasal or retronasal stimulation. J Agric Food Chem 54:5509–5515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Voirol E, Daget N (1986) Comparative study of nasal and retronasal olfactory perception. Food Sci Technol 19:316–319Google Scholar
  31. von Skramlik E (1926) Handbuch der Physiologie der niederen Sinne. Georg Thieme, LeipzigGoogle Scholar
  32. von Skramlik E (1924) Über die Lokalisation der Empfindungen bei den niederen Sinnen. Z Sinnesphysiol 56:69Google Scholar
  33. Wysocki CJ, Cowart BJ, Varga E (1997) Nasal-trigeminal sensitivity in normal aging and clinical populations. AChemS XIX, San Diego p 142Google Scholar
  34. Wysocki CJ, Cowart BJ, Radil T (2003) Nasal trigeminal chemosensitivity across the adult life span. Percept Psychophys 65:115–122Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Frasnelli
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mary Ungermann
    • 1
  • Thomas Hummel
    • 1
  1. 1.Smell and Taste Clinic, Department of OtorhinolaryngologyUniversity of Dresden Medical SchoolDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, Montreal Neurological InstituteMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations