Structure-activity relationship of stress-inducing odorants in the rat

J Chem Ecol. 1984 Jul;10(7):1007-18. doi: 10.1007/BF00987509.


The stress for 12 sulfur-containing synthetized volatiles was evaluated in male Wistar rats and compared to that for fox-dropping extract concentrate. Stress behavior was analyzed by quantifying various stress responses in a standard open field and measuring the increase in plasma corticosterone concentration. Nine compounds induced stress-a dihydrothiazole, two cyclic polysulfides, five mercaptoketones, and a mercaptan. For the mercaptoketones, the following structure-activity relationships were observed. Size can vary considerably; the mercapto group can be either alpha or beta and either secondary or tertiary. The keto group is not essential, since a structurally related mercaptan remains active. The mercapto group is essential for activity in mercaptoketones, since conversion to a methyl sulfide resulted in a neutral response. This type of odorant could function as an allomone and may have potential in rat control as an area repellent.