Is the Mouse Vomeronasal Organ a Sex Pheromone Receptor?

  • Tsuneo Hatanaka


Many behavioral studies indicate that the accessory olfactory system of mammals contributes to sexual behavior. However, the actual nerve responses of the vomeronasal system have received little study. In rodents, movement of odorants into the vomeronasal organ is facilitated by the pumping action of cavernous vascular tissue situated along its outer surface (Meredith and O’Connell, 1979; Meredith et al., 1980). To ascertain whether the vomeronasal organ is specialized to detect chemicals from the urine of mice (which may contain a sex pheromone), single unit responses of mouse vomeronasal receptor cells and accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) neurons were recorded to several types of stimuli, including urine vapors. Next, we determined whether the vasomotor action of the organ was affected by various kinds of odor, particularly whether urine odor promotes sampling movement. As indicated this papar, the vomeronasal organ responds to a wide range of stimuli in addition to vapors from mouse urine.


Isoamyl Acetate Vomeronasal Organ Accessory Olfactory Bulb Ammonium Chloride Solution Mouse Urine 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tsuneo Hatanaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of EducationChiba UniversityChiba 260Japan

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