Article

Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 2355-2366

Stimulation of Estrus in Female Mice by Male Urinary Proteins

  • Anna Marchlewska-KojAffiliated withInstitute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University
  • , Andrea CavaggioniAffiliated withDipartimento di Anatomia e Fisiologia Umana, Università di Padova
  • , Carla Mucignat-CarettaAffiliated withDipartimento di Anatomia e Fisiologia Umana, Università di Padova
  • , Paweł OlejniczakAffiliated withInstitute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University

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Abstract

Stimulation of estrus in adult female mice was obtained with major urinary proteins (MUPs) with the natural volatile ligands bound. The MUP threshold concentration for this effect was about 1.8 mg/ml. MUPs without the ligands bound, as purified by organic extraction of hydrophobic compounds, stimulated estrus in mice only when dissolved in carrier urine of juvenile or castrated adult male mouse or ovariectomized female mouse. They did not stimulate estrus when dissolved in water. Mice that had the vomeronasal organ removed were insensitive to MUPs. It is concluded that MUPs are an integral part of the mouse male pheromones that stimulate hormonal activity in females and that the vomeronasal system is involved in the estrus-stimulating effect of the major urinary proteins.

Major urinary proteins estrous cycle mice vomeronasal organ pheromones