Journal article

Human Olfaction without Apparent Olfactory Bulbs

Tali Weiss, Timna Soroka, Lior Gorodisky, Sagit Shushan, Kobi Snitz, Reut Weissgross, Edna Furman-Haran, Thijs Dhollander, Noam Sobel

Neuron | CELL PRESS | Published : 2020


The olfactory bulbs (OBs) are the first site of odor representation in the mammalian brain, and their unique ultrastructure is considered a necessary substrate for spatiotemporal coding of smell. Given this, we were struck by the serendipitous observation at MRI of two otherwise healthy young left-handed women, yet with no apparent OBs. Standardized tests revealed normal odor awareness, detection, discrimination, identification, and representation. Functional MRI of these women's brains revealed that odorant-induced activity in piriform cortex, the primary OB target, was similar in its extent to that of intact controls. Finally, review of a public brain-MRI database with 1,113 participants (..

View full abstract


Awarded by European Research Council

Awarded by 16 NIH Institutes and Centers - NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was funded by a European Research Council AdG. grant #670798 (SocioSmell) awarded to N.S. Data were provided (in part) by the Human Connectome Project, WU-Minn Consortium (Principal Investigators: David Van Essen and Kamil Ugurbil; 1U54MH091657) funded by the 16 NIH Institutes and Centers that support the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, and by the McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience at Washington University. We thank Liav Tagania for initial demarcation of HCP OBs and Dr. Rita Schmidt for help in optimizing imaging parameters.