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J Reprod Fertil. 1989 May;86(1):135-44.

Non-involvement of the accessory olfactory system in the LH response of anoestrous ewes to male odour.

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INRA, Reproductive Physiology, Monnaie, France.


In anoestrous ewes, male chemosignals elicit rapid increases in luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion that can ultimately lead to ovulation. To assess the possible involvement of the accessory (vomeronasal) olfactory system in the mediation of those chemical cues, we destroyed this pathway by vomeronasal organ electrocauterization (Exp. I) and vomeronasal nerve section (Exp. II). Neither of these lesions inhibited the LH response of ewes to the odour of the male. These results suggest that the vomeronasal system is not necessary to mediate the neuroendocrine response of the ewe to the male odour. As both surgical methods spared the main olfactory system but destroyed the vomeronasal system, it is likely that the main olfactory system is involved in the LH response to chemical stimulation in sexually experienced ewes.

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