New concepts of neural regulation in human nasal mucosa

James N. Baraniuk, Samantha J. Merck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Nasal mucosa is innervated by multiple subsets of nociceptive, parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves. These play carefully coordinated roles in regulating glandular, vascular and other processes. These functions are vital for cleaning and humidifying ambient air before it is inhaled into the lungs. The recent recognition of distinct classes of nociceptive nerves with unique patterns of sensory receptors that include seven transmembrane G-protein coupled receptors, new families of transient receptor potential and voltage and calcium gated ion channels, and combinations of neurotransmitters that can be modulated during inflammation by neurotrophic factors has revolutionized our understanding of the complexity and subtlety of nasal innervation. These findings may provide a rational basis for responses to air temperature changes, culinary and botanical odorants ("aromatherapy"), and inhaled irritants in conditions as diverse as idiopathic nonallergic rhinitis, occupational rhinitis, hyposmia, and multiple chemical sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalActa Clinica Croatica, Supplement
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Ion channels
  • Nasal mucosa - innervation
  • Nasal mucosa - physiology
  • Neurogenic inflammation
  • Parasympathetic nervous system - physiology
  • Sympathetic nervous system - physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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