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Olfactory epithelial transplantation: possible mechanism for restoration of smell

Costanzo, Richard Ma; Yagi, Sayakab

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head & Neck Surgery: February 2011 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 - p 54–57
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e328341e242
Nose and paranasal sinuses: Edited by Anshul Sama

Purpose of review: To discuss the unique properties of the olfactory epithelium and the potential use of olfactory epithelial grafts to restore olfactory function.

Recent findings: Sensory neurons in the olfactory epithelium undergo continuous regeneration, grow new axons, and reestablish connections with the olfactory bulb throughout life. When transplanted into different regions of the brain, olfactory epithelial graft cells retain their morphological and regenerative properties. Olfactory cells within the grafts grow axons that enter into the surrounding brain tissue. Recent studies have shown that the olfactory epithelium can be grafted directly to the olfactory bulb.

Summary: The olfactory epithelium has a remarkable capacity to continuously generate new sensory neurons and survives grafting into different regions of the brain. A review of the literature and the future use of olfactory grafts as a potential method to restore olfactory function is discussed.

aDepartments of Physiology and Biophysics, and Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, VCU School of Medicine, Richmond, Virginia, USA

bDepartment of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Kanazawa University, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan

Correspondence to Richard M. Costanzo, PhD, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, VCU School of Medicine, 1101 East Marshall Street, Richmond, VA 23298-0551, USA Tel: +1 804 828 4774; fax: +1 804 828 7382; e-mail: rcostanz@vcu.edu

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.