Focal lesions within the ventral striato-pallidum abolish attraction for male chemosignals in female mice

Behav Brain Res. 2014 Feb 1;259:292-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.11.020. Epub 2013 Nov 20.


In rodents, socio-sexual behaviour is largely mediated by chemosensory cues, some of which are rewarding stimuli. Female mice display an innate attraction towards male chemosignals, dependent on the vomeronasal system. This behaviour likely reflects the hedonic value of sexual chemosignals. The anteromedial aspect of the olfactory tubercle, along with its associated islands of Calleja, receives vomeronasal inputs and sexually-dimorphic vasopressinergic innervation. Thus, we hypothesised that this portion of the ventral striato-pallidum, known to be involved in reward processing, might be important for sexual odorant-guided behaviours. In this study, we demonstrate that lesions of this region, but not of regions in the posterolateral striato-pallidum, abolish the attraction of female mice for male chemosignals, without affecting significantly their preference for a different natural reward (a sucrose solution). These results show that, at least in female mice, the integrity of the anterior aspect of the medioventral striato-pallidum, comprising a portion of the olfactory tubercle and associated islands of Calleja, is necessary for the attraction for male chemosignals. We suggest that this region contributes to the processing of the hedonic properties of biologically significant odorants.

Keywords: Islands of Calleja; Olfactory tubercle; Reward; Sexual attraction; Vomeronasal system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / injuries
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Female
  • Globus Pallidus / injuries
  • Globus Pallidus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Reward
  • Sex Attractants*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*


  • Sex Attractants