Nutrient sensing: Another chemosensitivity of the olfactory system

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Olfaction is a major sensory modality involved in real time perception of the chemical composition of the external environment. Olfaction favors anticipation and rapid adaptation of behavioral responses necessary for animal survival. Furthermore, recent studies have demonstrated that there is a direct action of metabolic peptides on the olfactory network. Orexigenic peptides such as ghrelin and orexin increase olfactory sensitivity, which in turn, is decreased by anorexigenic hormones such as insulin and leptin. In addition to peptides, nutrients can play a key role on neuronal activity. Very little is known about nutrient sensing in olfactory areas. Nutrients, such as carbohydrates, amino acids, and lipids, could play a key role in modulating olfactory sensitivity to adjust feeding behavior according to metabolic need. Here we summarize recent findings on nutrient-sensing neurons in olfactory areas and delineate the limits of our knowledge on this topic. The present review opens new lines of investigations on the relationship between olfaction and food intake, which could contribute to determining the etiology of metabolic disorders.




Julliard, A. K., Al Koborssy, D., Fadool, D. A., & Palouzier-Paulignan, B. (2017, July 12). Nutrient sensing: Another chemosensitivity of the olfactory system. Frontiers in Physiology. Frontiers Media S.A.

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