A Possible Humoral Pathway for the Priming Action of the Male Pheromone Androstenol on Female Pigs

  • Tadeusz Krzymowski
  • Stanisława Stefańczyk-Krzymowska
  • Waldemar Grzegorzewski
  • Janina Skipor
  • Barbara Wąsowska


Intraspecific communication by chemical signals (pheromones) plays important behavioral and physiological roles in coordinating reproduction in mammals. Females of a variety of domestic species respond to pheromones from males by undergoing an earlier onset of puberty (Brooks and Cole, 1970; Kirkwood et al., 1983; Kalbrom, 1982; Pearce and Paterson, 1992), alterations in ovarian cycles (Oldham et al., 1979; Booth and Baldwin, 1983; Booth and Signoret, 1992) and estrous behavior (Signoret, 1970; Domes et al., 1997). The precocious attainment of puberty in gilts was studied after contact with the boar (Kirkwood et al., 1983; Kalbrom, 1982) or following the treatment with the male pheromone androstenone, commercially available as an aerosol spray called Suidor (Glei et al., 1989). According to Pearce and Paterson (1992), physical contact with the boar is essential for the maximal pubertal acceleration as it allows the direct transfer of the priming pheromone from the boar to the snout of the recipient gilt; among adult females, nosing and sniffing of the genitalia corresponded to 47% of interactions between the boar and anestrous gilts, while the remaining 43% of interactions involved head-to-head contacts (Signoret, 1970).


Nasal Cavity Cavernous Sinus Nasal Mucosa Estrous Cycle Tritiated Water 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baker, M. A. and Hayward, J. N., 1968, The influence of the nasal mucosa and the carotid rete upon hypothalamic temperature in sheep, J. Physiol. (Lond). 198:561–579.Google Scholar
  2. Booth, W. D. and Signoret, J. P., 1992, Olfaction and reproduction in ungulates, Oxford Rev. Reprod. 14:265–301.Google Scholar
  3. Booth, W. D. and Baldwin, B. A., 1983, Changes in estrous cyclicity following olfactory bulbectomy in postpubertal pigs, J. Reprod. Fertil. 67:143–150.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Booth, W. D., 1982, Steroid hormone and pheromone in the submaxillary gland and saliva of pig, in: Olfaction and Endocrine Regulation, (W. Breipohl, ed.), IRL Press, London, pp. 353–356.Google Scholar
  5. Brooks, P. H. and Colle, D. J. A., 1970, Effect of the presence of a boar pheromone on attainment of puberty in the gilts, J. Reprod. Fertil. 23:425–440.Google Scholar
  6. Buck, L. L. and Axel, R. A., 1991, A novel multigene family may encode odorant receptors: a molecular basis for odor recognition, Cell 65:175–187.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen, Z. and Lancet, D., 1984, Membrane proteins unique to vertebrate olfactory cilia: Candidates for sensory receptor molecules, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA. 81:1859–1863.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen-Tannoudji, J., Lavenet, C., Locatelli, A., Tillet, Y and Signoret, J. P., 1989, Non-involvement of the accessory olfactory system in the LH response of anoestrous ewes to male odour, J. Reprod. Fertil. 86:135–144.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Daniel, P. M., Dawes, D. K. and Prichard, M. M. L., 1973, Studies of the carotid and associated arteries, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London. B 237:173–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dorries, K. M., Adkins-Regan, E. and Halpern, B. P., 1997, Sensitivity and behavioral responses to the pheromone androstenone are not mediated by the vomeronasal organ in domestic pigs, Brain Behav. Evol. 49:53–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Einer-Jensen, N. and Larsen, L., 2000, Transfer of tritiated water, tyrosine and propanol from the nasal cavity to cranial arterial blood in rates, Exp. Brain Res. 130:216–220.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ghoshal, N. G. and Khamas, W. A. H., 1984, Light microscopic study of blood vessels of the nasal cavity of the pig. Acta Anat. 120:202–206.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gillian, L. A., 1974, Blood supply to brains of ungulates with and without a rete mirabile caroticum, J Com. Neurol. 153:275–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Glei, M., Schlegel, W., Straube, D. and Blankenger, J., 1989, Untersuchungen zur Beeinflussung des Pubertätseintrittes von Jungsauen mittels maskuliner Stimuli, Archiv. Tierzucht. 32:173–179.Google Scholar
  15. Grzegorzewski, W., Skipor, J., Wasowska, B and Krzymowski, T., 1997, Countercurrent transfer of 125I-LH-RH in the perihypophyseal cavernous sinus-carotid rete vascular complex, demonstrated on isolated pig heads perfused with autologous blood, Dom. Anim. Endocrinol. 14:149–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Grzegorzewski, W., Skipor, J., Wasowska, B and Krzymowski, T., 1995, Counter current transfer of oxytocin from the venous blood of the perihypophyseal cavernous sinus to the arterial blood of carotid rete supplying the hypophysis and brain depends on the phase of the estrous cycle in pigs, Biol Reprod. 52:139–144.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hancock, M. R., Gennings, J. N. and. Gower, D. B., 1985, On the existence of the receptor to the pheromonal steroid 5α-androst-16-en-3-one in porcine nasal epithelium, FEBS Lett. 181:328.–334PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Karlbom, I., 1982, Attainment of puberty in female pigs: influence of boar stimulation, Anim. Reprod. Sci. 4:313–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kirkwood, R. N., Hughes, P. E., and Both, W. D., 1983, The infuence of boar-related odours on puberty attainment in gilts, Anim. Prod. 36:131–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Krishna, N. S. R., Getchell, M. L. and Getchell, T. V., 1994, Expression of the putative pheromone and odorant transfer vomeromodulin mRNA and protein in nasal chemosensory mucose,. Neurosci. Res. 39:243–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Krzymowski, T., Bartlewski, P., Skipor, J., Grzegorzewski, W., Ziemińska, A., 1990, Counter current transfer of hormones from venous into arterial blood vessels in the base of brain in rabbit, Acta Physiol. Pol. Supl. 34:172–173.Google Scholar
  22. Krzymowski, T., Grzegorzewski, W., Stefańczyk-Krzymowska, S., Skipor, J. and Wajsowska, B., 1999, Humoral pathway for transfer of the boar pheromone, androstenol, from the nasal cavity to the brain and hypophysis, Theriogenology 52:1225–1240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Krzymowski, T., Skipor, J. and Grzegorzewski, W., 1992, Cavernous sinus and carotid rete of sheep and sows as a possible place for counter current exchange of some neuropeptides and steroid hormones, Anim. Reprod. Sci. 29:225–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Maloney, S. K. and Mitchell, G., 1997, Selective brain coolong: The role of angularis oculi vein and nasal thermoreception, Amer. J. Physiol., 273 (Reg. Integ. Comp. Physiol. 42):R1108–R1116.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Marchlewska-Koj A., 1984, Pheromones and mammalian reproduction, Oxford Rev. Reprod. Biol. 6:66–302.Google Scholar
  26. Mitchell, J., Thomalla, L. and Mitchell, G., 1998, Histological studies of the dorsal nasal, angularis oculi and facial veins of sheep (Ovis aries), J. Morphol. 237:275–281.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Oldham, C. M., Martin, G. B. and Knight, T. W., 1979, Stimulation of seasonally anovular Merino ewes by rams: I. Time from introduction of the rams to the preovulatory LH surge and ovulation, Anim. Reprod. Sci. 1:283–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pearce, G. T. and Paterson, A. M., 1992, Physical contact with the boar is required for maximum stimulation of puberty in the gilt because it allows transfer of boar pheromone and not because it induces cortisol release, Anim. Reprod. Sci. 27:209–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Read, R. R., 1992, Signalling pathways in odorant detection, Neuron 8:205–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rhein, L. D. and Cagan, R. H., 1981, Role of cilia in olfactory recognition, in: Biochemistry of Taste and Olfaction, (R. H.Cagan and M. R. Kare, eds., Acad. Press, New York, pp. 47–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Signoret, J.P., 1970, Reproductive behaviour of pigs. J. Reprod. Fertil. Suppl. 11:5–117.Google Scholar
  32. Skipor, J., Grzegorzewski, W., Krzymowski, T. and Einer-Jensen, N., 2000, Local transport of testosterone from nasal mucosa to the carotid blood and brain in the pig, Polish J. Vet. Sci. 3:19–22.Google Scholar
  33. Skipor, J., Grzegorzewski, W., Wajsowska, B and Krzymowski, T., 1997, Counter current transfer of β-endorphin in the perihypophyseal cavernous sinus-carotid rete vascular complex in sheep, Exp. Clin. Endocrinol. Diabetes. 105:308–313.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stefańczyk-Krzymowska, S., Krzymowski, T., Grzegorzewski, W., Wajsowska, B. and Skipor, J., 2000, Humoral pathway for the priming pheromone (3H-androstenol) local transfer from the nasal cavity to the brain and hypophysis in anaesthetized gilts. Exp. Physiol. 85–6:801–809.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tadeusz Krzymowski
    • 1
  • Stanisława Stefańczyk-Krzymowska
    • 1
  • Waldemar Grzegorzewski
    • 1
  • Janina Skipor
    • 1
  • Barbara Wąsowska
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Pathophysiology Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food ResearchThe Polish Academy of SciencesOlsztynPoland

Personalised recommendations