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Olfactory Event-Related Potentials and Exhaled Organic Volatile Compounds: The Slow Link Between Olfactory Perception and Breath Metabolic Response. A Pilot Study on Phenylethyl Alcohol and Vaseline Oil

1
Department of Biological and Environmental Science and Technologies, University of Salento, Campus Ecotekne, Via per Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
2
DReAM Laboratory of InterDisciplinary Research Applied to Medicine, University of Salento-Vito Fazzi Hospital, 73100 Lecce, Italy
3
Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Imaging e Scienze Cliniche, Università “d’Annunzio” di Chieti-Pescara, 66100 Chieti, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(4), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9040084
Received: 29 January 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 15 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Collection Collection on Cognitive Neuroscience)
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Abstract

Olfactory processing starts with the breath and elicits neuronal, metabolic and cortical responses. This process can be investigated centrally via the Olfactory Event-Related Potentials (OERPs) and peripherally via exhaled Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Despite this, the relationship between OERPs (i.e., N1 and Late Positive Component LPC) and exhaled VOCs has not been investigated enough. The aim of this research is to study OERPs and VOCs connection to two different stimuli: phenylethyl alcohol (PEA) and Vaseline Oil (VO). Fifteen healthy subjects performed a perceptual olfactory task with PEA as a smell target stimulus and VO as a neutral stimulus. The results suggest that OERPs and VOCs distributions follow the same amplitude trend and that PEA is highly arousing in both psychophysiological measures. PEA shows ampler and faster N1, a component related to the sensorial aspect of the stimulus. The N1 topographic localization is different between PEA and VO: PEA stimulus evokes greater N1 in the left centroparietal site. LPC, a component elicited by the perceptual characteristic of the stimulus, shows faster latency in the Frontal lobe and decreased amplitude in the Central and Parietal lobe elicited by the PEA smell. Moreover, the delayed time between the onset of N1-LPC and the onset of VOCs seems to be about 3 s. This delay could be identified as the internal metabolic time in which the odorous stimulus, once perceived at the cortical level, is metabolized and subsequently exhaled. Furthermore, the VO stimulus does not allocate the attentive, perceptive and metabolic resource as with PEA. View Full-Text
Keywords: OERP; VOCs; N1; LPC; olfactory perception; olfactory metabolic response OERP; VOCs; N1; LPC; olfactory perception; olfactory metabolic response
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Invitto, S.; Mazzatenta, A. Olfactory Event-Related Potentials and Exhaled Organic Volatile Compounds: The Slow Link Between Olfactory Perception and Breath Metabolic Response. A Pilot Study on Phenylethyl Alcohol and Vaseline Oil. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 84.

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