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Olfactory nerve

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Definition

noun, plural: olfactory nerves

The cranial nerve comprised of sensory nerve fibers that carry impulses for the sense of smell (olfaction)


Supplement

Cranial nerves are paired nerves that emerge from the brain and the brainstem. They supply the motor pathways between organs in the face and the upper body, and account for detecting and processing various sensations.

In humans, the olfactory nerve is one of the many cranial nerves. It is considered as the first cranial nerve, and therefore is also typically referred to as cranial nerve I (CN I).

The olfactory nerve is the cranial nerve that carries impulses for the sense of smell. It is comprised of numerous olfactory filaments, which in turn, is made up thin, unmyelinated axons of 8 to 12 of the bipolar olfactory receptor cells in the olfactory portion of the nasal mucosa. The olfactory filaments pass through the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone and enter the olfactory bulb, where they terminate in synaptic contact with mitral cells, tufted cells, and granule cells.

The olfactory nerve originates on the olfactory mucosa of the nasal cavity. Compared with other cranial nerves, the olfactory nerve is capable of some regeneration when it is damaged.


Synonym(s):

  • nervi olfactorii
  • fila olfactoria
  • first cranial nerve
  • nerve of smell
  • olfactory fila
  • cranial nerve I (CN I)

See also: