Korean J Otolaryngol-Head Neck Surg.  2007 Feb;50(2):121-127.

Effect of Systemic Steroid on the Olfactory Epithelium Injured by 3-Methylindole in Rats

  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. hjdhong@smc.samsung.co.kr
  • 2Seoul ENT Clinics, Hwaseong, Korea.


Various chemicals can affect the function of olfaction and steroids have been used for the treatment of the olfactory dysfunction. In this study, we investigated the effect of chronic dexamethasone treatment on olfactory epithelium injured by 3-methylindole (3-MI). MATERIALS AND METHOD: 0.75 mg/kg of dexamethasone were administered to 12 experimental rats every other day for 1-4 weeks, following a single intraperitoneal administration of 150 mg/kg 3-MI at the first week. Three rats from each group were sacrificed every week, and olfactory epithelium were examined after H & E and immunohistochemical staining.
On H & E staining, the height of the olfactory epithelium and the polarity of the cells showed no difference. On protein gene product 9.5 staining, the number of immunoreactive olfactory receptor cells significantly increased in the experimental groups from 2 and 4 weeks after 3-MI injection compared with the control group. On proliferating cell nuclear antigen staining, immunoreactive basal cells were significantly reduced in groups that received dexamethasone from 2 weeks to 3 weeks after injection compared with the control group.
Dexamethasone shows no protective effect in early necrosis of olfactory epithelium by 3-MI and showed positive effect on the regeneration of the olfactory receptor cells of olfactory epithelium.


3 methylindole; Steroids; Olfactory epithelium; Anosmia; Rat
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