Logo of jgenphysiolHomeThe Rockefeller University PressEditorsContactInstructions for AuthorsThis issue
J Gen Physiol. 1977 Mar 1; 69(3): 343.
PMCID: PMC2215018

Factors influencing the differential sorption of odorant molecules across the olfactory mucosa


By use of a flow dilution olfactometer, tritium-labeled odorants were presented through the external naris to the bullfrog's intact olfactory sac. After stimulation the animal was frozen in liquid nitrogen. The dorsal surface and eminentia of the olfactory sac were then removed and sawed into sections perpendicular to the long axis of the mucosal surface. Each section was dissolved in a tissue solubilizer and counted in a liquid scintillation system. The amount of radioactivity in each section was used to estimate the number of odorant molecules it sorbed. For tritiated butanol there was a significant decrease in radioactivity from the section containing the external naris to that overhanging the internal naris. The steepness of the gradient was unaffected by a rather large range of stimulus flow rates, volumes, and partial pressures. Only when these parameters were pushed to extreme physical limits did this gradient change significantly. When the stimulus was presented through the internal rather than the external naris, the butanol gradient reversed its direction, decreasing from the internal to external. Unlike butanol, tritiated octane presented through the external naris was rather evenly distributed among the mucosal sections. That is, octane showed no distribution gradient across the mucosa. These results complement previous electrophysiological data that suggested a "chromatographic-like" differential sorption of odorant molecules across the mucosa.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (1.1M).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • ADRIAN ED. Sensory discrimination with some recent evidence from the olfactory organ. Br Med Bull. 1950;6(4):330–333. [PubMed]
  • ADRIAN ED. The basis of sensation; some recent studies of olfaction. Br Med J. 1954 Feb 6;1(4857):287–290. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hornung DE, Lansing RD, Mozell MM. Distribution of butanol molecules along bullfrog olfactory mucosa. Nature. 1975 Apr 17;254(5501):617–618. [PubMed]
  • Mathews DF. Response patterns of single neurons in the tortoise olfactory epithelium and olfactory bulb. J Gen Physiol. 1972 Aug;60(2):166–180. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Mozell MM. Evidence for a chromatographic model of olfaction. J Gen Physiol. 1970 Jul;56(1):46–63. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Mozell MM, Jagodowicz M. Chromatographic separation of odorants by the nose: retention times measured across in vivo olfactory mucosa. Science. 1973 Sep 28;181(4106):1247–1249. [PubMed]
  • O'Connell RJ, Mozell MM. Quantitative stimulation of frog olfactory receptors. J Neurophysiol. 1969 Jan;32(1):51–63. [PubMed]

Articles from The Journal of General Physiology are provided here courtesy of The Rockefeller University Press


Save items

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem chemical substance records that cite the current articles. These references are taken from those provided on submitted PubChem chemical substance records.

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...