In this issue of Chemical Senses, Baker et al. propose a provocative and intriguing explanation for a commonly observed phenomenon in moth chemocommunication. Sex pheromones in moths typically consist of mixtures of long-chain unsaturated compounds in specific ratios. These ratios are correspondingly detected by male moths using separate olfactory sensory neurons for each pheromone component housed singly or multiply in long trichoid sensilla on the antennal surface. These neurons are often present in different proportions, typically with the neuron responding to the highest ratio component present in greatest abundance or with the largest dendritic diameter. In their article, Baker et al. postulate that these physical differences in neuron magnitudes arise to compensate for the higher molecular flux present with the most abundant pheromone components. Such a suggestion raises several questions concerning the physiological and behavioral nature of pheromone communication. Specifically, is the flux in a natural pheromone plume high enough to warrant increased flux detection for the most abundant components? Second, how can changes in neuronal number or size lead to increased flux detection? And finally, how would this increased flux detection be accomplished at molecular, cellular, and ultimately network scales? We address each of these questions and propose future experiments that could offer insight into the stimulating proposition raised by Baker et al.
The aim of the study was to investigate age-related changes in electrogustometry (EGM) thresholds, in morphology and density of the fungiform papillae (fPap) and in vessels’ shape and density at the tip of the human tongue.In 156 nonsmokers (74 males, 82 females; age range: 10–80 years), d ... more
AbstractPrevious studies indicate that the most common result of mixing two odors is the decreased olfactory perception of one or both components in the mixture. An excellent example of this phenomenon is provided by the masking of an unpleasant odor by a pleasant odor. This study hypothes ... more
Electro-olfactogram (EOG) represents the sum of generator potentials of olfactory receptor neurons in response to an olfactory stimulus. Although this measurement technique has been used extensively in animal research, its use in human olfaction research has been relatively limited. To un ... more