Publication date: Jul 21, 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic brought attention to our limited understanding of human olfactory physiology. While the cellular composition of the human olfactory epithelium is similar to that of other vertebrates, its functional properties are largely unknown. We prepared acute slices of human olfactory epithelium from nasal biopsies and used the whole-cell patch-clamp technique to record electrical properties of cells. We measured voltage-gated currents in human olfactory sensory neurons and supporting cells, and action potentials in neurons. Additionally, neuronal inward current and action potentials responses to a phosphodiesterase inhibitor suggested a transduction cascade involving cAMP as a second messenger. Furthermore, responses to odorant mixtures demonstrated that the transduction cascade was intact in this preparation. This study provides the first electrophysiological characterization of olfactory sensory neurons in acute slices of the human olfactory epithelium, paving the way for future research to expand our knowledge of human olfactory physiology.
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