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Keywords:

  • chemical communication;
  • oestrous female urine;
  • oestrous status;
  • periglomerular cell

Abstract

We studied Fos-immunoreactive (Fos-ir) structures in the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) of rats after the vomeronasal organ was exposed to urine. Exposure of the vomeronasal organ of male Wistar rats to oestrous and dioestrous female Wistar urine led to the appearance of many Fos-ir cells in the rostral region of the periglomerular cell (PGC) layer, but induced few Fos-ir cells in the caudal region. These results suggest that the regionalization of Fos-ir cells after exposure to female urine is remarkable in the PGC layer of the AOB. Sexually experienced male rats have been shown to prefer oestrous to dioestrous female urine, while sexually inexperienced males do not exhibit these preferences. In the present study, we compared the expression of Fos-ir cells in the AOB of sexually experienced and sexually inexperienced male rats following exposure to oestrous and dioestrous urine. In the localized region (lateral and rostral sectors) of the PGC layer, many more Fos-ir cells were expressed in the sexually experienced rats than in the inexperienced rats. These results suggest that sexual experience in males enhances the transmission of reproductively salient information concerning potential oestrous status to a specific PGC region of the AOB.