What is the cribriform plate?

Answer: The cribriform plate is a series of holes in the ethmoid bone at the base of the skull. Axons from the olfactory sensory system pass into the brain via these holes.

By Anatomist90 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Anatomist90 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The ventral most section of the skull is the ethmoid bone. It separates the nasal cavity from the brain. Within the ethmoid bone is the cribriform plate. Axons from the olfactory receptor cells in the nasal cavity send projections into the olfactory bulb, which bundles into cranial nerve I (Olfactory nerve). These axons pass through tiny holes in the cribriform plate called foramina.

A sudden impact that displaces the brain in the anterior-posterior plane can result in a parasagittal contusion, which may result in anosmia, the loss of the sensation of smell. Relatedly, a fracture or break in the cribriform plate may result in a leaking of cerebrospinal fluid.

Try learning from a model to learn more about the anatomy of the skull.