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In rodents, social odor sensing influences female reproductive status by affecting neuroendocrine cascades. The odor of male mouse urine can induce ovulation or block pregnancy within 3 d post coitus. Females avoid the action of such olfactory stimuli after embryonic implantation. The mechanisms underlying these changes are unknown. Here we report that shortly after mating, a surge in dopamine in the mouse main olfactory bulb impairs the perception of social odors contained in male urine. Treatment of females at 6.5 d post coitus with a dopamine D2 receptor antagonist restores social odor sensing and favors disruption of pregnancy by inhibition of prolactin release, when administered in the presence of alien male urine odors. These results show that an active sensory barrier blocks social olfactory cues detrimental to pregnancy, consistent with the main olfactory bulb being a major relay through which social odor modulates reproductive status.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Neurosci

Publication Date





949 - 956


Animals, Cues, Dopamine, Dopamine Antagonists, Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists, Embryo Implantation, Female, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Neurons, Odorants, Olfactory Bulb, Pheromones, Pregnancy, Pregnancy, Animal, Prolactin, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos, Sexual Behavior, Animal, Signal Transduction, Smell, Spiperone, Stimulation, Chemical, Time Factors, Urine, Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus