Odors affect various physiological and mental activities. Previous studies in rats have shown that the odors of grapefruit and Osmanthus fragrans (OSM, fragrant tea olive) attenuate food intake, leading to a reduction in body weight gain, but it is not yet clear whether the causative mechanisms underlying these effects are the same for both odors. The first part of the present study revealed that grapefruit odor had no effect on the expression of feeding-related neuropeptides, in contrast to the previous finding that OSM odor suppresses orexigenic and activates anorexigenic neuropeptides in the hypothalamus of the rat. The second part revealed that OSM odor activated the parasympathetic nerve, in contrast to the previous finding demonstrating that grapefruit odor activates sympathetic nerve activity. The third part was performed to confirm the previous findings about the effects of OSM odor on appetitive reactions in humans. In human subjects, we found that continuous exposure to OSM odor attenuated appetite and consumption of snacks (cookies) and improved mood, when evaluated using the POMS (Profile of Mood States) data from university students. In conclusion, OSM odor attenuated appetite and decreased food intake in humans, and the underlying causative mechanisms differed from those mediating the effects of grapefruit odor, specifically in terms of the expression of hypothalamic feeding-related neuropeptides and autonomic nerve activity.
Part of the book: Psychology and Pathophysiological Outcomes of Eating