Urinary odour preferences of MHC congenic female mice, Mus domesticus: implications for kin recognition and detection of parasitized males

Citation
Kd. Ehman et Me. Scott, Urinary odour preferences of MHC congenic female mice, Mus domesticus: implications for kin recognition and detection of parasitized males, ANIM BEHAV, 62, 2001, pp. 781-789
Citations number
45
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences","Neurosciences & Behavoir
Journal title
ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR
ISSN journal
0003-3472 → ACNP
Volume
62
Year of publication
2001
Part
4
Pages
781 - 789
Database
ISI
SICI code
0003-3472(200110)62:<781:UOPOMC>2.0.ZU;2-J
Abstract
Previous experiments have shown that some strains of mice prefer mates with a major histocompatibilty complex (MHC) that differs from their own, and u rine has been suggested as the olfactory signal used for discrimination. Si milarly, it has been proposed that females use MHC-associated cues to choos e female nesting partners. The objective of the present study was to clarif y the role of urinary odours in recognition of MHC-similar and -dissimilar mice by testing odour preferences of female mice. We used B10 (H-2(b)) and B10.Q (H-2(q)) mice that differ only at the MHC loci. Our hypothesis that f emale mice would spend more time exploring the urinary odours of MHC-simila r females, a mechanism thought to account for communal nesting patterns, wa s not supported; both strains explored MHC-similar and -dissimilar urinary odours equally. Our hypothesis that females would prefer the urinary odours of MHC-disparate males, as an indication of mate choice, was also not supp orted; neither B10 nor B10.Q females showed a significant preference for th e MHC-dissimilar odour. Finally, we determined whether infection with the i ntestinal nematode, Heligmosomoides polgyrus, would alter urinary odour pre ferences. Our supposition that females would prefer the urinary odours of u ninfected males, regardless of MHC strain, was supported; both B10 and B10. Q females demonstrated a significant preference for B10 uninfected male uri ne. Our results suggest that chemical communication through urine may not p lay as dominant a role in selection of nesting partners and mates as previo usly thought, but that it may be very important in conveying infection stat us. (C) 2001 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.