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See detailComparison of urinary odor-induced glomerular activation in the main olfactory bulb of aromatase knock-out and wild type female mice
Martel, K. L.; Keller, Matthieu ULg; Douhard, Quentin ULg et al

in Neuroscience Letters (2007), 421(2), 101-105

Previously [D.W. Wesson, M. Keller, Q. Douhard, M.J. Baum, J. Bakker, Enhanced urinary odor discrimination in female aromatase knockout mice, Horm. Behav. 49 (2006) 580-586] female aromatase knock out ... [more ▼]

Previously [D.W. Wesson, M. Keller, Q. Douhard, M.J. Baum, J. Bakker, Enhanced urinary odor discrimination in female aromatase knockout mice, Horm. Behav. 49 (2006) 580-586] female aromatase knock out mice successfully learned to discriminate in a food-motivated go/no-go task between urinary volatiles from ovariectomized female mice treated with estradiol as opposed to estradiol plus progesterone whereas wild type females failed to learn this odor discrimination. We asked whether this behavioral difference is reflected in the ability of these two types of urinary volatiles to differentially stimulate Fos expression in juxtaglomerular cells (an index of glomerular activation) of the main olfactory bulb (MOB) in wild type versus ArKO female mice. Statistically significant differences in the profiles of MOB glomerular activation were seen in ovariectomized, estrogen-treated ArKO as well as WT female subjects following exposure to urinary volatiles from ovariectomized females given estradiol alone as opposed to estradiol plus progesterone. Therefore, previously observed differences between females of the two genotypes in their behavioral responses to these odors must reflect differential processing in more central segments of the olfactory pathway instead of in the MOB. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailSexual Behavior activity tracks rapid changes in brain estrogen concentrations
Taziaux, Mélanie ULg; Keller, Matthieu ULg; Bakker, Julie ULg et al

in Journal of Neuroscience (2007), 27(24), 6563-6572

Estrogens are classically viewed as hormones that bind to intracellular receptors, which then act as transcription factors to modulate gene expression; however, they also affect many aspects of neuronal ... [more ▼]

Estrogens are classically viewed as hormones that bind to intracellular receptors, which then act as transcription factors to modulate gene expression; however, they also affect many aspects of neuronal functioning by rapid nongenomic actions. Brain estrogen production can be regulated within minutes by changes in aromatase (estrogen synthase) activity as a result of calcium-dependent phosphorylations of the enzyme. To determine the effects of rapid changes in estrogen availability on male copulatory behavior, we mimicked in male mice the rapid upregulation and downregulation of brain estrogen concentration that should occur after inactivation or activation of aromatase activity. A single injection of different aromatase inhibitors [Vorozole, 1,4,6-androstatrien-3,17-dione (ATD), or its metabolite 17-OH-ATD (1,4,6-androstatrien-17beta-ol-3-one)] almost completely suppressed male sexual behavior (mounts and intromissions) expressed 10-20 min later by C57BL/6J mice but did not affect behavior in aromatase knock-out (ArKO) mice, activated by daily injections of estradiol benzoate, thereby confirming the specificity of the behavioral inhibition observed in wild-type mice. The rapid ATD-induced inhibition was reversed by the simultaneous injection of a large dose of estradiol. A single injection of estradiol to ArKO mice also activated male sexual behavior within 15 min. Thus, rapid increases or decreases in brain estrogen concentrations are followed within minutes by corresponding changes in male sexual behavior. Sexual behavior can thus be used to monitor changes in local estrogen concentrations and analyze the mechanisms mediating the rapid decline in estrogen signaling that takes place after inhibition of estrogen synthesis. [less ▲]

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See detailSexual experience does not compensate for the disruptive effects of zinc sulfate-lesioning of the main olfactory epithelium on sexual behavior in male mice
Keller, Matthieu ULg; Douhard, Quentin ULg; Baum, M. J. et al

in Chemical Senses (2006), 31(8), 753-762

Recent studies point to an important role for the main olfactory epithelium (MOE) in regulating sexual behavior in male mice. We asked whether sexual experience could compensate for the disruptive effects ... [more ▼]

Recent studies point to an important role for the main olfactory epithelium (MOE) in regulating sexual behavior in male mice. We asked whether sexual experience could compensate for the disruptive effects of lesioning the MOE on sexual behavior in male mice. Male mice, which were either sexually naive or experienced, received an intranasal irrigation of either a zinc sulfate solution to destroy the MOE or saline. Sexual behavior in mating tests with an estrous female was completely abolished in zinc sulfate-treated male mice regardless of whether subjects were sexually experienced or not before the treatment. Furthermore, zinc sulfate treatment clearly disrupted olfactory investigation of both volatile and nonvolatile odors. Destruction of the MOE by zinc sulfate treatment was confirmed by a significant reduction in the expression of Fos protein in the main olfactory bulb following exposure to estrous female urine. By contrast, vomeronasal function did not seem to be affected by zinc sulfate treatment: nasal application of estrous female urine induced similar levels of Fos protein in the mitral and granule cells of the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) of zinc sulfate- and saline-treated males. Likewise, the expression of soybean agglutinin, which stains the axons of vomeronasal organ neurons projecting to the glomerular layer of the AOB, was similar in zinc sulfate- and saline-treated male mice. These results show that the main olfactory system is essential for the expression of sexual behavior in male mice and that sexual experience does not overcome the disruptive effects of MOE lesioning on this behavior. [less ▲]

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See detailDestruction of the main olfactory epithelium reduces female sexual behavior and olfactory investigation in female mice
Keller, Matthieu ULg; Douhard, Quentin ULg; Baum, M. J. et al

in Chemical Senses (2006), 31(4), 315-323

We studied the contribution of the main olfactory system to mate recognition and sexual behavior in female mice. Female mice received an intranasal irrigation of either a zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) solution to ... [more ▼]

We studied the contribution of the main olfactory system to mate recognition and sexual behavior in female mice. Female mice received an intranasal irrigation of either a zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) solution to destroy the main olfactory epithelium (MOE) or saline (SAL) to serve as control. ZnSO4-treated female mice were no longer able to reliably distinguish between volatile as well as nonvolatile odors from an intact versus a castrated male. Furthermore, sexual behavior in mating tests with a sexually experienced male was significantly reduced in ZnSO4-treated female mice. Vomeronasal function did not seem to be affected by ZnSO4 treatment: nasal application of male urine induced similar levels of Fos protein in the mitral and granule cells of the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) of ZnSO4 as well as SAL-treated female mice. Likewise, soybean agglutinin staining, which stains the axons of vomeronasal neurons projecting to the glomerular layer of the AOB was similar in ZnSO4-treated female mice compared to SAL-treated female mice. By contrast, a significant reduction of Fos in the main olfactory bulb was observed in ZnSO4-treated females in comparison to SAL-treated animals, confirming a substantial destruction of the MOE. These results show that the MOE is primarily involved in the detection and processing of odors that are used to localize and identify the sex and endocrine status of conspecifics. By contrast, both the main and accessory olfactory systems contribute to female sexual receptivity in female mice. [less ▲]

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See detailEnhanced urinary odor discrimination in female aromatase knockout (ArKO) mice
Wesson, D. W.; Keller, Matthieu ULg; Douhard, Quentin ULg et al

in Hormones & Behavior (2006), 49(5), 580-586

We asked whether odor discrimination abilities are sexually dimorphic in mice and, if so, whether the perinatal actions of estradiol contribute to these sex differences. The ability to discriminate ... [more ▼]

We asked whether odor discrimination abilities are sexually dimorphic in mice and, if so, whether the perinatal actions of estradiol contribute to these sex differences. The ability to discriminate different types of urinary odors was compared in male and female wild-type (WT) subjects and in mice with a hornozygous-null mutation of the estrogen synthetic enzyme, aromatase (aromatase knockout; ArKO). Olfactory discrimination was assessed in WT and ArKO male and female mice after they were gonadectomized in adulthood and subsequently treated with estradiol benzoate. A liquid olfactometer was used to assess food-motivated olfactory discrimination capacity. All animals eventually learned to distinguish between urinary odors collected from gonadally intact males and estrous females; however, WT males as well as ArKO mice of both sexes learned this discrimination significantly more rapidly than WT females. Similar group differences were obtained when mice discriminated between urinary odors collected from gonadally intact vs. castrated males or between two non-social odorants, amyl and butyl acetate. When subjects had to discriminate volatile urinary odors from ovariectomized female mice treated with estradiol sequenced with progesterone versus estradiol alone, ArKO females quickly acquired the task whereas WT males and females as well as ArKO males failed to do so. These results demonstrated a strong sex dimorphism in olfactory discrimination ability, with WT males performing better than females. Furthermore, female ArKO mice showed an enhanced ability to discriminate very similar utinary odorants, perhaps due to an increased sensitivity of the main olfactory nervous system to adult estradiol treatment as a result perinatal estrogen deprivation. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailThe vomeronasal organ is required for the expression of lordosis behaviour, but not sex discrimination in female mice
Keller, Matthieu ULg; Pierman, S.; Douhard, Quentin ULg et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2006), 23(2), 521-530

The role of the vomeronasal organ (VNO) in mediating neuroendocrine responses in female mice is well known; however, whether the VNO is equally important for sex discrimination is more controversial as ... [more ▼]

The role of the vomeronasal organ (VNO) in mediating neuroendocrine responses in female mice is well known; however, whether the VNO is equally important for sex discrimination is more controversial as evidence exists for a role of the main olfactory system in mate recognition. Therefore, we studied the effect of VNO removal (VNOx) on the ability of female mice to discriminate between volatile and non-volatile odours of conspecifics of the two sexes and in different endocrine states using Y-maze tests. VNOx female mice were able to reliably distinguish between male and female or male and gonadectomized (gdx) male volatile odours. However, when subjects had to discriminate between male and female or gdx male non-volatile odours, VNOx females were no longer able to discriminate between sex or different endocrine status. These results thus show that the VNO is primarily involved in the detection and processing of non-volatile odours, and that female mice can use volatile odours detected and processed by the main olfactory system for mate recognition. However, VNO inputs are needed to promote contact with the male, including facilitation of lordosis responses to his mounts. A single subcutaneous injection with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) partially reversed the deficit in lordosis behaviour observed in VNOx females suggesting that VNO inputs may reach hypothalamic GnRH neurons to influence the display of sexual behaviour. [less ▲]

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