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Numerous studies to date have shown that olfactory receptors are relevant not only for smell perception, but that they also play a significant physiological and pathophysiological role in all organs. An overview of receptors detected so far and of the functions they fulfil within the human body is provided by Prof Dr Dr Dr habil. Hanns Hatt and Dr Désirée Maßberg from the Department for Cellphysiology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, published in the journal Physiological Reviews; online preview available on June 13, 2018. They elaborate, for example, potential clinical applications, especially with regard to cancer diagnosis and therapy, and they discuss the steps scientists have yet to take to ensure that the receptors’ full potential can be used for applications in the medical field, but also in health and care products.

Different cell biological effects

In 2003, the team headed by Hanns Hatt demonstrated for the first time that olfactory receptors fulfil important functions in tissues outside of the nose; subsequently, the researchers in Bochum and in other labs successfully described the role of olfactory receptors in more than 20 different types of human tissue. Most up to date DNA sequencing methods were instrumental for the collection of new information

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