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AChems Press Release

Experience-dependent sex differences in the olfactory system

Male and female mice separated by sex for prolonged periods display substantial differences in the relative numbers of olfactory sensory neurons that express specific chemosensory receptor molecules.

In mice, olfactory sensory neurons turn over continuously throughout life, with lifespan affected by olfactory experience. Consequently, odor experience can alter the relative abundance of sensory neurons that express specific receptors. We tested whether male and female mice housed separated from the opposite sex would display differences in their olfactory neuron population because of the distinct odor profiles of the sexes. Using RNA-seq and histology, we found substantial sex-separation-induced differences in the abundance of specific sensory neuron types, which were subsequently found to detect sex-specific odors. These findings provide insights into how sex differences within the olfactory system may arise. (contact Dr. Stephen W. Santoro; ssantoro@uwyo.edu; +1 917-975-9776)

The poster presentation “Sex Separation Induces Differences In The Olfactory Sensory Receptor Repertoires Of Male And Female Mice” (#P222) takes place Wednesday, 18 April, 9:00 – 11:00 pm ET in the Estero Ballroom.

Full author list: Stephen W. Santoro, Carl J. van der Linden