Document Detail

Role of the vomeronasal organ in neonatal offspring recognition in sheep.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  10952943     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Twenty-five pregnant Dorsett ewes were randomly divided into three groups to test if ewes use their vomeronasal organs for offspring recognition during nursing. One group of eight ewes (procaine) were made anosmic by irrigation of the nasal olfactory apparatus with a zinc sulphate procaine solution. The second group of nine ewes (cauterized) had their vomeronasal organs rendered nonfunctional by cauterization of the nasoincisive duct. The third group of eight ewes were the controls. Parturition was synchronized in all ewes with betamethasone on Day 145 of gestation. Maternal responsiveness was tested two separate times with 1- to 2-day-old alien lambs. Each alien lamb trial was conducted 24 h apart. Cauterized ewes allowed alien lambs to suckle and they were unable to distinguish alien lambs from their own lambs, whereas the ewes in both groups with functional vomeronasal organs (procaine and control) violently rejected any alien lamb's attempt to suckle. Thus, female sheep use their vomeronasal organs for neonatal offspring recognition.
K K Booth; L S Katz
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Biology of reproduction     Volume:  63     ISSN:  0006-3363     ISO Abbreviation:  Biol. Reprod.     Publication Date:  2000 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2000-09-06     Completed Date:  2000-11-13     Revised Date:  2003-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0207224     Medline TA:  Biol Reprod     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  953-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort 0110, Republic of South Africa.
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MeSH Terms
Animals, Newborn*
Gestational Age
Maternal Behavior / physiology*
Nose / physiology
Olfaction Disorders / chemically induced
Sheep / anatomy & histology*,  physiology*
Vomeronasal Organ / physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Pheromones; 59-46-1/Procaine

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