Olfactory dysfunction: A plausible source of COVID-19-induced neuropsychiatric symptoms

Pui Lun Alan TAI, Mei-Kei LEUNG, Benson Wui-Man LAU, Shirley Pui-Ching NGAI, Kwok Wai LAU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Olfactory dysfunction and neuropsychiatric symptoms are commonly reported by patients of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Evidence from recent research suggests linkages between altered or loss of smell and neuropsychiatric symptoms after infection with the coronavirus. Systemic inflammation and ischemic injury are believed to be the major cause of COVID-19-related CNS manifestation. Yet, some evidence suggest a neurotropic property of SARS-CoV-2. This mini-review article summarizes the neural correlates of olfaction and discusses the potential of trans-neuronal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 or its particles within the olfactory connections in the brain. The impact of the dysfunction in the olfactory network on the neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with COVID-19 will also be discussed. Copyright © 2023 Tai, Leung, Lau, Ngai and Lau.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1156914
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


Tai, A. P.-L., Leung, M.-K., Lau, B. W.-M., Ngai, S. P.-T., & Lau, W. K.-W. (2023). Olfactory dysfunction: A plausible source of COVID-19-induced neuropsychiatric symptoms. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 17. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2023.1156914


  • COVID-19
  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms
  • Nervus terminalis
  • Olfactory system
  • Trans-neuronal viral transmission
  • PG student publication


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