The impact of ethanol and tobacco smoke on intranasal epithelium in the rat

Julia Vent, Sande Bartels, Gleb Haynatzki, Martha J. Gentry-Nielsen, Donald A. Leopold, Richard Hallworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Investigations have shown the influence of ethanol and tobacco smoke on olfaction, epithelial metaplasia, and cancer formation in the head and neck. Analysis of ethanol and tobacco smoke-induced histopathological mucosal changes in the upper respiratory tract may provide important insight into the pathophysiology of secondary olfactory dysfunction. Methods: Three groups of laboratory rats were experimentally exposed to either ethanol, tobacco smoke, or both, with a control group having no such exposure. Results: Compared with controls, histopathological analysis of nasal mucosa in exposed rats revealed a decrease in the length of olfactory epithelium, especially in the rats exposed to both ethanol and tobacco smoke. Structural changes included loss of cilia and metaplasia. Conclusion: The histological changes noted in rats after ethanol and tobacco smoke exposure, if relevant to human physiology, could explain the decreased olfactory ability seen in patients who use these products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-247
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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