Near-infrared spectroscopy of orbitofrontal cortex during odorant stimulation

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For olfaction, several studies have reported near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) signal changes in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) during odor stimulation. However, the roles of human OFC in olfactory cognition are less well understood. This study was designed to better understand the roles of OFC for olfaction.


Hemodynamic responses for phenyl ethyl alcohol or citral in the OFCs were measured with NIRS. After the experiment, participants were asked to describe the characteristics of the odor and to rate odor intensity and hedonic valence.


Statistical analysis of all participants' data showed significant changes in the concentration of total hemoglobin in the left OFC during the trial (p = 0.04). The total hemoglobin signal increased significantly in the right OFC (p = 0.0008) of the participants who successfully identified the odorant stimulus.


Our findings showed that NIRS combined with a questionnaire is a useful method for studying the functional neuroanatomy of OFC in terms of olfaction.

Keywords: Near-infrared spectroscopy; odor; olfaction; orbitofrontal cortex

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Japan

Publication date: May 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, is a peer reviewed, scientific publication committed to expanding knowledge and publishing the best clinical and basic research within the fields of Rhinology & Allergy. Its focus is to publish information which contributes to improved quality of care for patients with nasal and sinus disorders. Its primary readership consists of otolaryngologists, allergists, and plastic surgeons. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    Previously published as American Journal of Rhinology, the journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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