Translational Neuroscience

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 34–45 | Cite as

The olfactory system in Alzheimer’s disease: Pathology, pathophysiology and pathway for therapy

  • Tibor KovácsEmail author
Review Article


Olfaction is frequently mentioned as a “neglected sense”, although the olfactory system has several interesting and unique anatomical and physiological features. Olfactory involvement is present in several degenerative disorders, especially in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The peripheral and central parts of the olfactory system are damaged even in the early stages of AD, manifesting in profound olfactory deficits. Besides the early pathology, the olfactory system may be involved in the pathogenesis of AD by providing a route of entry for pathological agents still unknown. In contrast to this olfactory vector hypothesis, the olfactory system can be used to deliver therapeutic agents in AD, such as nerve growth factor and insulin, by decreasing the side-effects of the therapy or providing a non-invasive method of delivery.


Olfaction Neurofibrillary tangles Limbic system Olfactory vector hypothesis Alzheimer’s disease 


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© Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologySemmelweis UniversityBudapestHungary

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