Journal article Open Access

Alarm pheromones with different functions are released from different regions of the body surface of male rats.

Takeuchi, Yukari; Kikusui, Takefumi; Mori, Yuji; Kiyokawa, Yasushi

Our previous study suggested that the alarm pheromones in rats could be divided into at least two functionally different categories: one evoking autonomic responses and the other evoking behavioral responses, and the present study was conducted to test this hypothesis. Four regions of the body surface, i.e. the whisker pad, neck, rump and perianal region, of an anesthetized male Wistar rat were electrically stimulated (donor) and, after removal of the donor, the recipient rat was introduced into the same box and its behavioral and autonomic changes were recorded. Electrical stimulation of the perianal region of anesthetized donor rats provoked the release of odor that subsequently augmented core body temperature in other awake male rats. By contrast, electrical stimulation of the whisker pad of anesthetized donor males provoked the release of odor that augmented sniffing, rearing and locomotor activity in other awake male subjects. These results suggest that the alarm pheromone released from the face modifies behavior and that from the anal area induces autonomic stress responses in recipients.

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