Olfactory exposure to late-pregnant and lactating mice causes stress-induced analgesia in male mice


In an attempt to improve reproducibility, more attention is being paid to potential sources of stress in the laboratory environment. Here, we report that the mere proximity of pregnant or lactating female mice causes olfactory-mediated stress-induced analgesia, to a variety of noxious stimuli, in gonadally intact male mice. We show that exposure to volatile compounds released in the urine of pregnant and lactating female mice can themselves produce stress and associated pain inhibition. This phenomenon, a novel form of female-to-male chemosignaling, is mediated by female scent marking of urinary volatiles, such as n-pentyl-acetate, and likely signals potential maternal aggression aimed at defending against infanticide by stranger males.

Science Advances
Aleksandrina Skvortsova
Aleksandrina Skvortsova
Assistant Professor