Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2006 Jul;31(4):263-70.

Increased olfactory sensitivity in euthymic patients with bipolar disorder with event-related episodes compared with patients with bipolar disorder without such episodes.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Dresden Medical School, 01307 Dresden, Germany.



Some patients with bipolar disorder experience mood episodes following emotional life events, whereas others do not. There is evidence that orbitofrontal hypoactivity may be related to this, because the orbitofrontal cortex is involved in the regulation of emotional and behavioural responses to external events. The close anatomical and functional connection between the orbitofrontal cortex and olfactory processing suggests that patients with bipolar disorder and heightened emotional reactivity may exhibit altered olfactory function compared with patients with bipolar disorder who do not exhibit this sensitivity.


In this pilot study, olfactory function was assessed in patients with bipolar disorder and a history of event-triggered episodes (n = 7) and in patients with bipolar disorder without such a history (n = 9) at the Department of Psychiatry and the Taste and Smell Clinic of the University of Dresden, Germany. Each patient's bipolar disorder was in remission at study entry, and they were on monotherapy with mood stabilizers. Assessment included olfactory event-related potentials (ERP) and psychophysical tests for odour threshold, odour identification and olfactory quality discrimination.


Odour thresholds were lower in patients with bipolar disorder and event-triggered episodes compared with the other patient group. In addition, patients with event-triggered episodes exhibited shorter N1 peak latencies of the olfactory ERP.


Our findings indicate disinhibition of orbitofrontal areas involved in the processing of emotional events in a subset of patients with bipolar illness.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk