Author(s): Thompson RN, Robertson BK, Napier A, Wekesa KS
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Abstract Social behaviors of most mammals are affected by chemical signals, pheromones, exchanged between conspecifics. Previous experiments have shown that behavioral responses to the same pheromone differ depending on the sex and endocrine status of the respondent. Although the exact mechanism of this dimorphism is not known, one possible contributor may be due to sexually dimorphic receptors or due to differences in central processing within the brain. In order to investigate the differences in response between male and female mice to the same pheromonal stimulus two urinary compounds (2-heptanone and 2,5-dimethylpyrazine) were used to stimulate the production of Inositol (1,4,5)-trisphosphate (IP(3)) in microvillar membrane preparations of the vomeronasal organ as an indirect measurement of pheromonal stimulation. Incubation of such membranes from prepubertal mice with urine from the same sex or opposite sex, results in an increase in production of IP(3). This stimulation is mimicked by GTPgammaS and blocked by GDPbetaS. Furthermore we found that 2-heptanone present in both male and female urine was capable of stimulating increased production of IP(3) in the female VNO but not the male VNO. Finally, 2,5-dimethylpyrazine present only in female urine was also only capable of stimulating increased production of IP(3) in the female VNO.
This article was published in Chem Senses
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access