Pheromone-induced second messenger signaling in the hamster vomeronasal organ

Neuroreport. 1996 Nov 25;7(18):2989-92. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199611250-00038.


Compounds present in estrous hamster vaginal discharge modulate male attraction and mounting behavior. These compounds are differentially processed by chemosensory neurons in the main olfactory epithelium (MOE) and vomeronasal organ (VNO). The transduction cascade responsible for this processing is unclear in the VNO, although studies of the MOE suggest that the second messengers cAMP or IP3 may be involved. Here we demonstrate that purified aphrodisin, a hamster mounting pheromone, modulates IP3 production in male VNO membranes without altering cAMP production. Aphrodisin does not alter the concentration of either second messenger in membranes from the MOE. These results confirm the specificity of the VNO in the processing of mounting pheromones and establishes the importance of IP3 cascades in mammalian reproductive behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / drug effects
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Cricetinae
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Nasal Septum / drug effects
  • Nasal Septum / physiology*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / drug effects
  • Olfactory Mucosa / physiology
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / drug effects
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / physiology*
  • Pheromones / pharmacology*
  • Proteins / pharmacology
  • Second Messenger Systems / drug effects
  • Second Messenger Systems / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Pheromones
  • Proteins
  • aphrodisin protein, Mesocricetus auratus