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Mol Neurobiol. 2007 Jun;35(3):317-23.

Are pheromones detected through the main olfactory epithelium?

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


A major sensory organ for the detection of pheromones by animals is the vomeronasal organ (VNO). Although pheromones control the behaviors of various species, the effect of pheromones on human behavior has been controversial because the VNO is not functional in adults. However, recent genetic, biochemical, and electrophysiological data suggest that some pheromone-based behaviors, including male sexual behavior in mice, are mediated through the main olfactory epithelium (MOE) and are coupled to the type 3 adenylyl cyclase (AC3) and a cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) ion channel. These recent discoveries suggest the provocative hypothesis that human pheromones may signal through the MOE.

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