Roles of gonadal hormones in control of five sexually attractive odors of meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus)


The role of gonadal hormones in the production of five odors that are attractive to the opposite sex was investigated in meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus. Preferences of intact male and female voles for the scents of same- versus opposite-sex conspecifics were examined. The attractiveness of opposite-sex scents from feces, mouth, and the posterolateral region was eliminated by gonadectomy of scent donors and was restored by replacement with testosterone in male donors and estradiol-17β in female donors. The attractiveness of the scents of urine and the anogenital area was reduced by gonadectomy of scent donors, but was not eliminated. This suggests that the sexually attractive components of urine and the anogenital area do not depend solely on gonadal hormones. The present data suggest that (1) gonadal hormones have an important role in production of sexually attractive components of all scents that we found to be sexually distinctive, but (2) the sexually attractive components of some scents are in addition influenced by other factors, possibly other hormones. Nongonadal influences on these scents may provide sexually distinctive information outside the breeding season when endogenous gonadal hormone concentrations are low. © 1993 by Academic Press, Inc.

Publication Title

Hormones and Behavior