Inactivation of the olfactory amygdala prevents the endocrine response to male odour in anoestrus ewes


: Dr C. Fabre-Nys, as above.


Our aim was to study the role of the olfactory amygdala (medial and cortical nuclei) and the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMN) in the ability of the male odour or live males to induce a release of luteinizing hormone in anoestrus ewes. To achieve this, we temporarily blocked the activity of these structures by localized retrodialysis administration of the anaesthetic lidocaine. The effect of ram odour on the secretion of luteinizing hormone was completely blocked by inactivation of the cortical nucleus of the amygdala. In contrast, inactivation of part of the accessory olfactory system (the medial nucleus of the amygdala or the VMN) had no effect. In the presence of the male, lidocaine never impaired the endocrine response of the ewes. These results show that modulation of reproduction by the sexual partner even through pheromonal cues does not occur via the direct circuit of the accessory system. On the contrary, the cortical nucleus of the amygdala is absolutely necessary for the treatment of and/or the response to the male olfactory signal but this structure can be bypassed when other sensory cues are available.