The Olfactory System

  • Michael T. Shipley
  • Matthew Ennis
  • Adam C. Puche


Transduction of olfactory information occurs when odorant molecules contact the dendrites of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). These neurons reside in the olfactory epithelium, a specialized region of the dorsal nasal cavity. ORN axons project through the lamina propria underlying the olfactory epithelium and into the glomerular layer of the main olfactory bulb. This projection forms the olfactory nerve, or cranial nerve I. Within glomeruli, ORN axons synapse onto the apical dendrites of mitral and tufted cells, which are the output neurons of the main olfactory bulb (MOB). In turn, axons from these cells project to the primary olfactory cortex, via the lateral olfactory tract. The primary olfactory cortex comprises several brain regions, including the anterior olfactory nucleus, the piriform cortex, parts of the amygdala, and the entorhinal cortex. These areas, in turn, are interconnected with many areas of the brain, including the neocortex, hippocampus, mediodorsal...


Olfactory Epithelium Granule Cell Layer Olfactory Nerve Odorant Receptor Piriform Cortex 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press, Totowa, NJ 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael T. Shipley
    • 1
  • Matthew Ennis
    • 2
  • Adam C. Puche
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy & NeurobiologyUniversity of Maryland, Program in NeuroscienceBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy & NeurobiologyUniversity of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Anatomy & NeurobiologyUniversity of Maryland, Program in NeuroscienceBaltimoreUSA

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