Laminar distribution of pheromone-receptive neurons in rat vomeronasal epithelium



  • 1Responses of vomeronasal sensory neurons to urine excreted from rats, mice and hamsters were studied by the on-cell patch clamp method in slices of sensory epithelium from female Wistar rats.
  • 2The urine excreted from male and female Wistar rats, male Donryu rats and male C57BL/6 mice induced relatively large responses, while urine from male Sprague-Dawley rats and male Syrian hamsters induced small responses.
  • 3Of the 62 neurons responding to urine, 57 responded to only one of the urine preparations.
  • 4The sensory neurons that responded to the male Wistar urine were localized in the apical position of the epithelium where one type of GTP-binding protein, Gi2α, is selectively expressed. The neurons in the basal position of the epithelium, which express G, responded to urine from the other animals.
  • 5This study demonstrates that sensory neurons responsive to different urinary pheromones are localized in a segregated layer in the rat vomeronasal sensory epithelium.