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Olfactory Impairment and Hippocampal Volume in a Chinese MCI Clinical Sample

Yu, Hong-li, BS; Chen, Zhi-juan, MM; Zhao, Ji-wei, MM; Duan, Shu-rong, MD; Zhao, Jing-kun, MD

Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders: April-June 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 2 - p 124–128
doi: 10.1097/WAD.0000000000000305
Original Articles

Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between olfactory function and hippocampal volume in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Methods: We enrolled a total of 31 MCI patients and 9 normal control subjects. All participants underwent 3.0 T-magnetic resonance imaging scanning. The scan results were processed using GE ADW4.6 processing software and V0xar 3D workstation to acquire the hippocampal volume. The University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT) was used to evaluate the olfactory function of MCI patients. The correlations of UPSIT score with hippocampal volume and hippocampal head volume were evaluated by Pearson correlation coefficient analysis.

Results: MCI patients had significantly smaller left (2.78±0.50 vs. 3.19±0.31 cm3) and right (2.97±0.42 vs. 3.31±0.25 cm3) hippocampal volumes compared with normal controls (P<0.05). In addition, patients with olfactory dysfunction had smaller volumes of the hippocampus (left hippocampal volume, 2.57±0.39 vs. 3.23±0.40 cm3; right hippocampal volume, 2.86±0.43 vs. 3.22±0.30 cm3) and hippocampal head (left hippocampal head volume, 1.18±0.16 vs. 1.53±0.25 cm3; right hippocampal head volume, 1.25±0.22 vs. 1.54±0.22 cm3) compared with those with normal olfactory function (P<0.05). No significant difference in the hippocampal body volume and hippocampal tail volume was found between MCI patients with olfactory loss and those with normal olfactory function. The UPSIT score was significantly positively correlated with left hippocampal volume (r=0.55, P<0.05), right hippocampal volume (r=0.42, P<0.05), left hippocampal head volume (r=0.53, P<0.05), and right hippocampal head volume (r=0.45, P<0.05).

Conclusions: Olfactory function correlates well with hippocampal volume among patients with MCI.

Department of Neurology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China

This study was approved by the ethical committee of The First Hospital Affiliated to Harbin Medical University and written participant consents were available when necessary.

Supported by science and technology innovation talent fund of Harbin Science and Technology Bureau (2015RAQYJ104) and Project fund of scientific research program of Heilongjiang Academy of Medical Sciences (201615).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Jing-kun Zhao, MD, Department of Neurology, The First Hospital Affiliated to Harbin Medical University, No. 23, Youzheng Street, Nangang District, Harbin 150001, Heilongjiang, China (e-mail:

Received July 27, 2018

Accepted February 4, 2019

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