Olfactory dysfunction in Parkinson's disease

Zbigniew K. Wszolek, Katerina Markopoulou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The olfactory system is one of the nonmotor systems severely affected in Parkinson's disease (PD). Olfactory dysfunction occurs early in the disease process, is independent of disease stage, duration, and treatment. However, olfactory dysfunction appears to be dependent on disease subtype. Olfaction is mildly impaired or preserved in most of the parkinsonism-plus syndromes (PPS). This provides a means of differential diagnosis between typical PD and PPS. Olfactory function is impaired also in familial forms of parkinsonism in which the genetic defect is known. In familial parkinsonism, olfactory function is impaired in both typical PD and PPS phenotypes. Olfactory dysfunction does not appear to be a manifestation of dopamine deficiency. Olfactory dysfunction is also associated with other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Huntington's disease (HD), as well as with normal aging. The neuropathological changes observed in the olfactory system in PD and other neurodegenerative diseases appear to be disease-specific, raising the possibility that olfactory dysfunction may be the result of a central rather than a peripheral process. The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying olfactory dysfunction in PD and other neurodegenerative diseases remain unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998


  • Familial parkinsonism
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Olfactory dysfunction
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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