Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Interpretation on Scientific Article about Sense of Smell Essay example
Introduction The sense of smell is what informs an organism of the chemical composition of their surrounding environment. The sense of smell is called olfaction and in humans, it is less developed than in most other mammals. The olfactory system contains epithelial cells that are unique because they are capable of regeneration, unlike most other neurons. The receptors for both taste and smell are called chemoreceptors. They are termed chemoreceptors because they respond to chemicals that are in aqueous solution. The olfactory epithelium is what allows us to smell; it is located in the roof of the nasal cavity and contains millions of sensory neurons. It is a patch and contains approximately 50 million sensory receptor cells. The receptor cells being referred to are actually neurons. The olfactory epithelium is comprised of three different layers, which include supporting cells, olfactory receptor cells, and basal cells. Supporting cells aid in the production of mucous and they support the olfactory receptor cells. The basal cells are at the base of the epithelium and they are the source of newly developed receptors. Tiny hair like structures, called cilia, are found on the olfactory receptors and they are covered with mucous. If molecules entering the nostrils dissolve in the mucous, they stimulate the receptors and the sense of smell is evoked. The substances that can be smelled have to be able to evaporate at normal temperatures and should be fairly water soluble so they can pass through t he mucous. The molecules should also be lipid soluble because the cilia are composed of lipids. A mature sensory neuron is a bipolar neuron, meaning it has two poles, or ends. The neuron receives signals through a branch known as a dendri... ... but quite possibly most important, much research is being conducted involving the degeneration of the olfactory system. One of the first signs of Alzheimer's disease is the loss of smell. By understanding the plasticity of the receptors in the olfactory system, there may be a way to further understand why degeneration takes place and how it could be treated. The future of this science is far reaching and combined with gene expression, it will become a heated topic. There are exciting discoveries taking place, such as the odorant receptors in sperm and even products in the material world. The olfactory system should provide a long future of discoveries due to the intricacies of its circuitry and the vast network it encompasses. References Momberts. Nature. "Putting Smell on the Map". Volume 419. pg. 296-300. 19 Sept. 2002. 2002 Nature Publishing Group.