The Olfactory Nerve and Function

Also known as CN1, the olfactory nerve is the first of 12 cranial nerves located within the head. It relays sensory data to the brain, and it is responsible for the sense of smell.

The nerve’s olfactory receptors are located within the mucosa of the nasal cavity.

One of the most characteristic features of odor memory in humans is the rather unique ability of odors to vividly trigger the evocation of emotional experiences. This property might be sustained by the direct connections established by the olfactory bulb and piriform/olfactory cortex on two structures involved in emotion and memory, namely the amygdala and hippocampus. In animals, memory for environmental odors plays a vital role because it regulates many behaviors that are crucial for survival. Highly emotional or at least particularly ethologically relevant olfactory learning occur during an animal’s major life events. Moreover, conditioning procedures can be used to induce emotional olfactory learning, thus allowing an experimental approach in a laboratory environment. The aim of the present chapter is to illustrate some aspects of the neurobiology of odor emotional memory in rats, both in infancy and adulthood. We focus on fear conditioning at both developmental points, since it constitutes one of the most adapted and classical paradigms to study emotional memory in animals and has been the focus of intense investigation.

Source – NCBI