Therapeutic potential of ectopic olfactory and taste receptors

Sung Joon Lee, Inge Depoortere, Hanns Hatt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

174 Citations (Scopus)


Olfactory and taste receptors are expressed primarily in the nasal olfactory epithelium and gustatory taste bud cells, where they transmit real-time sensory signals to the brain. However, they are also expressed in multiple extra-nasal and extra-oral tissues, being implicated in diverse biological processes including sperm chemotaxis, muscle regeneration, bronchoconstriction and bronchodilatation, inflammation, appetite regulation and energy metabolism. Elucidation of the physiological roles of these ectopic receptors is revealing potential therapeutic and diagnostic applications in conditions including wounds, hair loss, asthma, obesity and cancers. This Review outlines current understanding of the diverse functions of ectopic olfactory and taste receptors and assesses their potential to be therapeutically exploited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-138
Number of pages23
JournalNature Reviews Drug Discovery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank C. Wu and Y.-J. Kim for assistance in manuscript preparations. This work was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea (NRF-2018R1A4A1022589 and 2016R1A2A2A05005483), funded by the South Korean government (MSIP), and was supported by a grant from the University of Leuven (Methusalem grant) and Research Foundation Flanders (G073615N).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Nature Limited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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