Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/23/2017
Publication Date: 4/14/2018
Citation: Connor, E.E., Yang, Z., Liu, G. 2018. The essence of appetite: Does olfactory receptor variation play a role? Journal of Animal Science. 96(4):1551-1558. https://doi.org/10.1093/jas/sky068.
Technical Abstract: Olfactory receptors are G-protein coupled chemoreceptors expressed on millions of olfactory sensory neurons within the nasal cavity. These receptors detect environmental odorants and signal the brain regarding the location of feed, potential mates, and the presence of possible threats (e.g., predators or chemical toxins). Olfactory receptors also are present in organs outside of the nasal cavity where they bind to molecules such as nutrients and metabolites from the animal’s internal environment to elicit physiological responses, including changes in gut motility, ventilation rate, and cellular migration. Recent evidence supports an additional role of olfactory receptors in the regulation of appetite in humans and rodents. In particular, genetic variation among individuals in specific odorant receptor genes has been linked to differences in their feeding behaviors, food choices, and the regulation of energy balance. This review provides a general overview of the olfactory receptors of vertebrates and their genetic variability, and provides supporting evidence for a physiological role of olfactory receptors in appetite regulation of livestock. Basic research on olfactory receptors of livestock and their ligands should facilitate the development of novel odorant receptor agonists and identification of specific olfactory receptor variants that may be developed to enhance animal production efficiency.