Olfactory Control of Sex-Recognition and Sexual Behavior in Mice

  • Matthieu Keller
  • Michael J. Baum
  • Julie Bakker
Conference paper


In this chapter, we review recent data about the involvement of both the main and the accessory olfactory system in mate recognition and the control of sexual behavior in mice. Whereas the main olfactory system seems to play a central role in mate recognition in both male and female mice, clear sex differences emerge with regard to which olfactory system plays a more important role in the control of sexual behavior. Indeed, the main but not the accessory olfactory system seems to be more important in regulating sexual behavior in male mice, whereas in female mice, the accessory olfactory system seems to play a critical role in the control of mating.

Olfaction is of primary importance for social recognition in mammals, including mice. Thus mice use odors to distinguish sex, social or reproductive status of conspecifics (Brennan and Zufall 2006; Brown 1979). In addition, odors have been shown to facilitate the display of sexual behavior (e.g. Thompson and Edwards 1972) and to induce neuroendocrine responses (e.g. pregnancy block in female mice; Brennan and Keverne 1997).


Sexual Behavior Olfactory System Zinc Sulfate Mate Recognition Main Olfactory Bulb 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media,LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthieu Keller
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael J. Baum
  • Julie Bakker
  1. 1.Centre for Cellular and Molecular NeurobiologyUniversity of LiègeLiege B-4000Belgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Behavioral and Reproductive PhysiologyCNRS/INRA/University of ToursFrance

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