Olfactory Epithelia

Olfactory epithelium, specialized for smell, lines the roof of the nasal cavity. This region has dramatically thickened epithelium which LACKS goblet cells.  Beneath the olfactory epithelium are numerous nerve fibers which are branches of the olfactotry nerve as well as specialized olfactory glands (Bowman’s glands), the secretions of which are “serous” (mostly water and some protein) rather than mucous.  The watery secretions dissolve odorant molecules to facilitate their detection and then quickly wash the odorants away so that new scents can be detected.

The nasal mucosa lining the bulk of the nasal cavity is made up of respiratory epithelium and an underlying layer of connective tissue. The connective tissue contains many glands (and associated ducts) and a rich vascular plexus characterized by many dilated, thin walled veins (sometimes called “venous spaces”) which act as heat exchangers to warm and humidify the air entering the nasal cavity. (adapted from Univ Michigan Histology)

Virtual Microscopy (Univ of Michigan) link. Olfactory epithelia

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