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Neurosci Res. 2004 Mar;48(3):259-67.

Exposure to hexanal odor influences maternal behavior and induces neonatal death in Fyn tyrosine kinase-deficient mice.

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KOKORO Biology Group, Laboratories for Integrated Biology, Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, Yamadaoka 1-3, Suita 565-0871, Japan.


Fyn-deficient pups born of Fyn-deficient parents die because they fail to suckle within 1-2 days after birth. Here we demonstrate that the neonatal death phenotype was influenced by the genetic background and an environmental odor. The odor of hexanal (C6-aldehyde) partially impaired mouse maternal behavior and induced the neonatal death of Fyn-deficient pups born of Fyn-deficient parents. This death phenotype was first observed in the breeding environment using autoclaved chips of Douglas fir. An analysis of the volatile chemicals in the autoclaved chips revealed an approximately 10-fold greater amount of hexanal than in non-autoclaved chips. Hexanal influenced the length of time virgin female mice engage in the maternal crouching behavior. In addition, Fyn-deficient females exhibited defects in the maternal behavior of nest building and pup retrieval, regardless of exposure to hexanal. These observations provide new insights into the regulation of maternal behavior by environmental and genetic factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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