Reduced olfactory bulb volume in adults with a history of childhood maltreatment

Croy, Ilona; Negoias, Simona; Symmank, Anja; Schellong, Julia; Joraschky, Peter; Hummel, Thomas (2013). Reduced olfactory bulb volume in adults with a history of childhood maltreatment. Chemical Senses, 38(8), pp. 679-684. Oxford University Press 10.1093/chemse/bjt037

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The human olfactory bulb (OB) is the first relay station of the olfactory pathway and may have the potential for postnatal neurogenesis in early childhood. In animals, chronic stress affects the OB and olfactory functioning. For humans, it has been shown that major depressive disorder is accompanied by reduced OB volume and reduced olfactory function. However, it is not clear if major stress in childhood development also affects olfactory functioning and OB volume in humans. OB volume was measured and olfactory function was tested in 17 depressive patients with and 10 without a history of severe childhood maltreatment (CM). CM patients exhibited a significantly reduced olfactory threshold and identification ability. The OB volume of the CM patients was significantly reduced to 80% of the non-CM patients. In conclusion, postnatal neurogenesis might be by reduced in CM, which may affect olfactory function of the brain in later life. Alternatively, a reduced OB volume may enhance psychological vulnerability in the presence of adverse childhood conditions although other areas not analyzed in this study may also be involved.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders (ENT)

UniBE Contributor:

Negoias, Simona


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Oxford University Press




Lilian Tschan

Date Deposited:

07 Mar 2014 08:01

Last Modified:

01 Feb 2019 18:00

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

child abuse, childhood maltreatment, depression, olfaction, olfactory bulb, olfactory threshold


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