Olfactory discrimination ability of CD-1 mice for a large array of enantiomers

Neuroscience. 2007 Jan 5;144(1):295-301. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2006.08.063. Epub 2006 Oct 11.


With use of a conditioning paradigm, the ability of eight CD-1 mice to distinguish between 15 enantiomeric odor pairs was investigated. The results demonstrate a) that CD-1 mice are capable of discriminating between all odor pairs tested, b) that the enantiomeric odor pairs clearly differed in their degree of discriminability and thus in their perceptual similarity, and c) that pre-training with the rewarded stimuli led to improved initial but not terminal or overall performance. A comparison between the proportion of discriminated enantiomeric odor pairs of the CD-1 mice and those of other species tested in earlier studies on the same discrimination tasks (or on subsets thereof) shows a significant positive correlation between discrimination performance and the number of functional olfactory receptor genes. These findings provide the first evidence of a highly developed ability of CD-1 mice to discriminate between an array of non-pheromonal chiral odorants. Further, they suggest that a species' olfactory discrimination capabilities for these odorants may be correlated with its number of functional olfactory receptor genes. The data presented here may provide useful information for the interpretation of findings from electrophysiological or imaging studies in the mouse and the elucidation of odor structure-activity relationships.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Odorants*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Receptors, Odorant / genetics*
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Receptors, Odorant