Sunday, December 09, 2007

Aggression Pheromone Found

Lisa Stowersand her colleagues at the Scripps Research Institution in La Jolla, California have found the pheromone that elicits aggressive behavior in mice. It was suspected that pheromones in urine were the cause of some aggressive behaviors, but they were not isolated until now. The pheromone has been isolated to a group called the major urinary proteins, which are larger than the other proteins in urine.

The vomeronasal organ, which is located behind the nostrils and different from the olfactory sensors, then picks up the proteins. Aggressive behaviors such as biting, chasing, kicking and wrestling are then triggered when the mouse sees an intruder. This was the first pheromone specifically for aggression that has been found. Researchers are doubtful that human aggression works using similar triggers, and do not think this will lead to future treatments.

-Henry Rafferty


At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Chris Kennedy said...

Interesting article. It's really neat that they were able to find a pheromone that releases an aggressive trigger. Is there any reason that the mice's urine contains this pheromone?


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