The chemical bases of human sociality
Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 24 June 2013
Gün R. Semin,   and Jasper H. B. de Groot
Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Are mammal olfactory signals hiding right under our noses?
Naturwissenschaften June 2013, Volume 100, Issue 6, pp 487-506
Peter James Apps
Chemical communication via olfactory semiochemicals plays a central role in the social behaviour and reproduction of mammals, but even after four decades of research, only a few mammal semiochemicals have been chemically characterized. Expectations that mammal chemical signals are coded by quantitative relationships among multiple components have persisted since the earliest studies of mammal semiochemistry, and continue to direct research strategies. Nonetheless, the chemistry of mammal excretions and secretions and the characteristics of those semiochemicals that have been identified show that mammal semiochemicals are as likely to be single compounds as to be mixtures, and are as likely to be coded by the presence and absence of chemical compounds as by their quantities.

Chemosignals, hormones and mammalian reproduction
Hormones and Behavior, 63(5), May 2013, Pages 723–741
Aras Petrulis
Georgia State University, Neuroscience Institute, 100 Piedmont Ave SE, Atlanta, GA

• All aspects of chemical communication are influenced by sex and hormone status.
• Very few chemosignals qualify as “pheromones”.
• Most responses to chemosignals are dependent on context and learning.
• Chemosignal processing is mediated by the medial amygdala and its connections.
• Species-differences in all aspects of chemical communication are evident.

see also: Citing & related articles

Women’s tears contain chemical cues
Female weeping dampens …
6 January 2011 | Nature

Human Tears Contain a Chemosignal
Science 14 January 2011: 331 (6014):226-230
Shani Gelstein, Yaara Yeshurun, Liron Rozenkrantz, Sagit Shushan, Idan Frumin, Yehudah Roth, Noam Sobel
Emotional tearing is a poorly understood behavior that is considered uniquely human. In mice, tears serve as a chemosignal. We therefore hypothesized that human tears may similarly serve a chemosignaling function. We found that merely sniffing negative-emotion–related odorless tears obtained from women donors induced reductions in …

Fifty years of pheromones
Nature 457, 262-263 (15 January 2009)
Tristram D. Wyatt1
Department of Zoology of the University of Oxford, UK, and is the author of Pheromones and Animal Behaviour.
Powerful chemical signals have been identified in moths, elephants and fish, recounts Tristram D. Wyatt. But, contrary to stories in the popular press, the race is still on to capture human scents.

cited by 50:,d.eWU

Beauty is in the nose of the beholder
Gene found that determines if putative human pheromone smells naughty or nice.
16 September 2007

Neuroscience:  The sweet smell of success
Nature 428, 362-364 (25 March 2004)
Carina Dennis
Nature’s Australasian correspondent.
Smell is arguably the most evocative and mysterious of our senses. But thanks to advances in our understanding of the cells that detect odour, its secrets should now start to be revealed. Carina Dennis sniffs around.

[Web Focus] Sensory transduction

Male sweat relaxes women
Men’s underarms may hold clue to new fertility drug.
28 May 2003 | Nature

Male axillary extracts contain pheromones that affect pulsatile secretion of luteinizing hormone and mood in women recipients.
Biology of Reproduction, 68, 2107 – 2103, (2003).
Preti, G. et al. [ny]

Nosing into pheromone detectors
Nature Neuroscience 6, 438 – 440 (2003)

Mice lacking a functional main olfactory system are shown to be able to detect some odorants via their vomeronasal organ, suggesting this system is not restricted to sensing pheromones.


Molecular detection of pheromone signals in mammals: from genes to behaviour

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 4, 551-562 (July 2003)

Catherine Dulac & A. Thomas Torello

The instinctive and species-specific behavioural response of animals to pheromones has intrigued biologists for a long time. Recent molecular and electrophysiological approaches have provided new insights into the mechanisms of pheromone detection in rodents and into the sensory coding of pheromone signals that lead to gender discrimination and aggressive behaviour. [on disk]

Reproductive biology: Mammary messages

Nature 424, 25-26 (3 July 2003)

Elliott M. Blass

Identification of a pheromone that induces suckling in newborn rabbits sets a standard for studies on other mammals, and should prime investigations of the neurobiological basis of this behaviour.

One of the unique features of mammals is the parental nursing of young and suckling of milk from the mother1. On page 68 of this issue2, Schaal et al.

Chemical and behavioural characterization of the rabbit mammary pheromone
Nature 424, 68-72 (3 July 2003)
Benoist Schaal1,2, Gérard Coureaud1,2, Dominique Langlois2,3, Christian Giniès3, Etienne Sémon3 & Guy Perrier
Centre Européen des Sciences du Goût, CNRS, France

Neuropharmacology: Odorants may arouse instinctive behaviours 
Nature 412, 142 (12 July 2001)
Mehran Sam, et al.

The prevailing view of the mammalian olfactory system is that odorants are detected only in the nasal olfactory epithelium, whereas pheromones are generally detected in the vomeronasal organ. Here we show that vomeronasal neurons can actually detect both odorants and pheromones. This suggests that in mammals, as in insects, odorous compounds released from plants or other animal species may act as ‘semiochemicals’ — signalling molecules that elicit stereotyped behaviours that are advantageous to the emitter or to the receiver.


Human pheromones:  Communication through body odour
Nature 392, 126-127 (12 March 1998)

Human communication is dominated by auditory and visual information. In contrast, many animals use smell to communicate — both immediate and long-term effects of chemical signals have been documented within many species, from yeasts to mammals.


Regulation of ovulation by human pheromones
Nature 392, 177-179 (12 March 1998)
Kathleen Stern & Martha K. McClintock
Department of Psychology, The University of Chicago




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