The Grueneberg ganglion: a novel sensory system in the nose. uri icon


  • Within the nasal epithelium of mammals, there are several compartments which are populated with neuronal cells. One of them - the so-called Grueneberg ganglion - is composed of ciliated neurons residing in the anterior region of the nose. Although cells of the Grueneberg ganglion lack direct contact with the lumen of the nasal cavity, they are endowed with features indicative of olfactory sensory neurons, such as the olfactory marker protein and distinct olfactory receptors, as well as projection of axonal processes to the olfactory bulb of the brain. These findings have led to the notion that the Grueneberg ganglion might be a novel olfactory subsystem; a concept which was lately supported by the observation that chemical cues activate Grueneberg ganglion neurons. Unexpectedly, it was recently found that these cells also respond to cool ambient temperatures, presumably via a signaling pathway mediated by second messengers. Thus, the Grueneberg ganglion may operate as a dual sensory organ involved in the detection of both chemical and thermal stimuli.

publication date

  • July 2010