Article

Vomeronasal versus olfactory epithelium: is there a cellular basis for human vomeronasal perception?

Department of Anatomy, University of Technology Dresden, Dresden, Germany.
International Review of Cytology (Impact Factor: 9). 02/2006; 248:209-59. DOI: 10.1016/S0074-7696(06)48004-9
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The vomeronasal organ (VNO) constitutes an accessory olfactory organ that receives chemical stimuli, pheromones, which elicit behavioral, reproductive, or neuroendocrine responses among individuals of the same species. In many macrosmatic animals, the morphological substrate constitutes a separate organ system consisting of a vomeronasal duct (ductus vomeronasalis, VND), equipped with chemosensory cells, and a vomeronasal nerve (nervus vomeronasalis, VNN) conducting information into the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) in the central nervous system (CNS). Recent data require that the long-accepted dual functionality of a main olfactory system and the VNO be reexamined, since all species without a VNO are nevertheless sexually active, and species possessing a VNO also can sense other than "vomeronasal" stimuli via the vomeronasal epithelium (VNE). The human case constitutes a borderline situation, as its embryonic VNO anlage exerts a developmental track common to most macrosmatics, but later typical structures such as the VNN, AOB, and probably most of the chemoreceptor cells within the still existent VND are lost. This review also presents recent information on the VND including immunohistochemical expression of neuronal markers, intermediate filaments, lectins, integrins, caveolin, CD44, and aquaporins. Further, we will address the issue of human pheromone candidates.

Full-text

Available from: Martin Witt, Jun 04, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
203 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A large family of vomeronasal receptors recognize pheromone cues in many animals including most amphibia, reptiles, rhodents, and other mammals. Humans possess five vomeronasal-type 1 receptor genes (VN1R1-VN1R5), which code for proteins that are functional in recombinant expression systems. We used two different recombinant expression systems and identified Hedione as a ligand for the putative human pheromone receptor VN1R1 expressed in the human olfactory epithelium. Following the ligand identification, we employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in healthy volunteers to characterize the in vivo action of the VN1R1 ligand Hedione. In comparison to a common floral odor (phenylethyl alcohol), Hedione exhibited significantly enhanced activation in limbic areas (amygdala, hippocampus) and elicited a sex-differentiated response in a hypothalamic region that is associated with hormonal release. Utilizing a novel combination of methods, our results indicate that the putative human pheromone receptor VN1R1 is involved in extra-olfactory neuronal activations induced by the odorous substance Hedione. The activation of VN1R1 might play a role in gender-specific modulation of hormonal secretion in humans. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    NeuroImage 03/2015; 113. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.03.029 · 6.13 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Humans and most of our closest extant relatives, the anthropoids, are notable for their reduced “snout.” The striking reduction in facial projection is only a superficial similarity. All anthropoids, including those with long faces (e.g., baboons), have lost numerous internal projections (turbinals) and spaces (recesses). In sum, this equates to the loss of certain regions of olfactory mucosa in anthropoids. In addition, an accessory olfactory organ, the vomeronasal organ, is non-functional or even absent in all catarrhine primates (humans, apes, monkeys). In this commentary, we revisit the concept of anatomical reductions as it pertains to the anthropoid nasal region. Certain nasal structures and spaces in anthropoids exhibit well-known attributes of other known vestiges, such as variability in form or number. The cupular recess (a vestige of the olfactory recess) and some rudimentary ethmoturbinals constitute reduced structures that presumably were fully functional in our ancestors. Humans and at least some apes retain a vestige that is bereft of chemosensory function (while in catarrhine monkeys it is completely absent). However, the function of the vomeronasal system also includes prenatal roles, which may be common to most or all mammals. Notably, neurons migrate to the brain along vomeronasal and terminal nerve axons during embryogenesis. The time-specific role of the VNO raises the possibility that our concept of functional reduction is too static. The vomeronasal system of humans and other catarrhine primates appears to qualify as a “chronological” vestige, one which fulfills part of its function during ontogeny, and then becomes lost or vestigial. Anat Rec, 297:2196–2204, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    The Anatomical Record Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology 11/2014; 297(11). DOI:10.1002/ar.23035 · 1.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The olfactory system is an essential part of human physiology, with a rich evolutionary history. Although humans are less dependent on chemosensory input than are other mammals (Niimura 2009, Hum. Genomics 4:107-118), olfactory function still plays a critical role in health and behavior. The detection of hazards in the environment, generating feelings of pleasure, promoting adequate nutrition, influencing sexuality, and maintenance of mood are described roles of the olfactory system, while other novel functions are being elucidated. A growing body of evidence has implicated a role for olfaction in such diverse physiologic processes as kin recognition and mating (Jacob et al. 2002a, Nat. Genet. 30:175-179; Horth 2007, Genomics 90:159-175; Havlicek and Roberts 2009, Psychoneuroendocrinology 34:497-512), pheromone detection (Jacob et al. 200b, Horm. Behav. 42:274-283; Wyart et al. 2007, J. Neurosci. 27:1261-1265), mother-infant bonding (Doucet et al. 2009, PLoS One 4:e7579), food preferences (Mennella et al. 2001, Pediatrics 107:E88), central nervous system physiology (Welge-Lüssen 2009, B-ENT 5:129-132), and even longevity (Murphy 2009, JAMA 288:2307-2312). The olfactory system, although phylogenetically ancient, has historically received less attention than other special senses, perhaps due to challenges related to its study in humans. In this article, we review the anatomic pathways of olfaction, from peripheral nasal airflow leading to odorant detection, to epithelial recognition of these odorants and related signal transduction, and finally to central processing. Olfactory dysfunction, which can be defined as conductive, sensorineural, or central (typically related to neurodegenerative disorders), is a clinically significant problem, with a high burden on quality of life that is likely to grow in prevalence due to demographic shifts and increased environmental exposures. Clin. Anat., 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Clinical Anatomy 01/2014; 27(1). DOI:10.1002/ca.22338 · 1.16 Impact Factor