Loss of olfaction, or anosmia, frequently accompanies emotional dysfunctions, partly due to the overlapping brain regions between the olfactory and emotional processing centers. Here, we investigated whether anosmia was associated with gray matter volume alterations at a network level, and whether these alterations were related to the olfactory-specific quality of life (QOL) and depressive symptoms. Structural brain magnetic resonance imaging was acquired in 22 individuals with postinfectious or idiopathic anosmia (the anosmia group) and 30 age- and sex-matched controls (the control group). Using independent component analysis on the gray matter volumes, we identified 10 morphometric networks. The gray matter volumes of these networks were compared between the two groups. Olfactory-specific QOL and depressive symptoms were assessed by self-report questionnaires and clinician-administered interviews, respectively. The anosmia group showed lower gray matter volumes in the hippocampus–amygdala and the precuneus networks, relative to the control group. Lower gray matter volumes in the hippocampus–amygdala network were also linearly associated with lower olfactory-specific QOL and higher depressive symptom scores. These findings suggest a close relationship between anosmia and gray matter volume alterations in the emotional brain networks, albeit without determined causal relations.
- gray matter volume
- morphometric network