Physiology and Pharmacology of the Accessory Olfactory System

  • H. Kaba
  • C.-S. Li
  • E. B. Keverne
  • H. Saito
  • K. Seto


The accessory olfactory system originating in the vomeronasal organ is important in a variety of chemosensory primer effects including the acceleration of puberty, induction of oestrus, and pregnancy block in female mice following exposure to male urinary odours (pheromones) (Keverne, 1983). A considerable body of evidence has accumulated showing that pheromones received via the vomeronasal organ alter activity in tuberoinfundibular (TI) dopaminergic neurons, which in turn regulate pituitary prolactin release, and thereby lead to the reproductive effects described above. Injections of the dopamine agonist bromocriptine reproduced the actions of male pheromones in female mice with identical timing (Keverne, 1983). Conversely, the blocking of dopaminergic transmission by pimozide prevented the pheromonal action of a strange male in newly mated female mice (Marchlewska-Koj and Jemiolo, 1978). Further evidence for dopamine involvement in the context of pregnancy block has been demonstrated by measuring hypothalamic DOPA after pheromone exposure and blockade of dopamine synthesis (Rosser, Remfry and Keverne, 1989).


Mitral Cell Stria Terminalis Main Olfactory Bulb Excitatory Amino Acid Receptor Medial Preoptic Area 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Kaba
    • 1
  • C.-S. Li
    • 1
  • E. B. Keverne
    • 2
  • H. Saito
    • 1
  • K. Seto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyKochi Medical SchoolJapan
  2. 2.Sub-Department of Animal BehaviourUniversity of CambridgeMadingley, CambridgeUK

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