Olfactory Loss in Rhinosinusitis: Mechanisms of Loss and Recovery

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review


  • Agnès Dekeyser - , Université catholique de Louvain (Author)
  • Caroline Huart - , Université catholique de Louvain (Author)
  • Thomas Hummel - , Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden (Author)
  • Valérie Hox - , Université catholique de Louvain (Author)


Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a highly prevalent disease and up to 83% of CRS patients suffer from olfactory dysfunction (OD). Because OD is specifically seen in those CRS patients that present with a type 2 eosinophilic inflammation, it is believed that type 2 inflammatory mediators at the level of the olfactory epithelium are involved in the development of this olfactory loss. However, due to the difficulties in obtaining tissue from the olfactory epithelium, little is known about the true mechanisms of inflammatory OD. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in olfaction has been growing rapidly and several studies have been focusing on disease mechanisms of OD in inflammatory conditions. In this paper, we summarize the most recent data exploring the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying OD in CRS. We also review what is known about the potential capacity of olfactory recovery of the currently available treatments in those patients.


Original languageEnglish
Article number4460
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

External IDs

PubMed 38674045
ORCID /0000-0001-9713-0183/work/159608507



  • chronic rhinosinusitis, olfaction, olfactory dysfunction, Smell/physiology, COVID-19/complications, Rhinosinusitis, Humans, SARS-CoV-2, Sinusitis/complications, Olfactory Mucosa/metabolism, Rhinitis/complications, Chronic Disease, Olfaction Disorders/etiology