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A mixture of odorant molecules potentially indicating oestrus in mammals elicits penile erections in male rats

Abstract : A common set of odorous molecules may indicate female receptiveness across species, as male rats display sexual arousal when exposed to the odour of oestrous faeces from rats, vixens and mares. More than 900 different compounds were identified by GC-MS analyses performed on faeces samples from di-oestrous and oestrous females and from males of the three species. Five carboxylic acids were found in lower concentrations in faeces from all oestrous females. We subjected 12 sexually trained male rats to a 30 min exposure to different dilutions of a mixture of these five molecules in the same proportions as found in female oestrous faeces. The behavioural responses of the rats were compared to those displayed when exposed to water (negative control) and faeces from oestrous female rats (positive control). Frequency of penile erections were found to be significantly dependent on mixture dilution, with two intermediate dilutions eliciting frequencies of penile erections that did not differ from those obtained during exposure to oestrous female rat faeces. Higher and lower dilutions did not elicit more penile erections than observed with water. These results support our hypothesis that a small set of odorous molecules may indicate sexual receptiveness in mammalian females.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 29, 2020 - 3:38:10 AM
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Birte Nielsen, Nathalie Jerome, Audrey Saint-Albin Deliot, Catherine Thonat, Christine Briant, et al.. A mixture of odorant molecules potentially indicating oestrus in mammals elicits penile erections in male rats. Behavioural Brain Research, Elsevier, 2011, 225 (2), pp.584 - 589. ⟨10.1016/j.bbr.2011.08.026⟩. ⟨hal-02645983⟩

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