The sex pheromone is named after Mr Darcy of Jane Austen and drives females madly lustfully
A sex pheromone named by Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen sends crazy females lustfully and makes them sing at ultrasonic frequencies, according to a study.
Exposed to the special protein, called ‘darcina’, in the urine marks left by male mice, the females showed an immediate attraction and then began to leave their own marks.
Both this and singing are signs of a greater sexual desire in mice.
Discovered in 2010, the pheromone is named after Fitzwilliam Darcy, the distant romantic hero who gains the affection of Elizabeth Bennet in ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
Experts have now discovered how darcina adheres to the brain of female mice, identifying the area of the brain that processes the pheromone signal.
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A sex pheromone named by Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen (pictured, played by Colin Firth) sends crazy females lustfully and makes them sing at ultrasonic frequencies, according to a study
In his study, neuroscientist Ebru Demir of Columbia University in the USA. UU. And their colleagues exposed the females to urine with the smell of darcina, which the males release to mark their territory and initiate courtship, and monitored their behavior.
They discovered that almost all female mice were immediately attracted to darcina and, in 50 minutes, some of the mice began to leave their own urine-based odor marks.
In addition, it was observed that some of the mice began to “sing” at ultrasonic frequencies that are above the range of human hearing.
The researchers noted that these two behaviors are indicators of an increase in sexual desire in mice.
Although pheromones have not yet been demonstrated in humans, it is known that rodents and other animals depend on chemicals as a way of pointing out everything, from potential hazards to willingness to mate.
Pheromones such as darcina are processed differently than normal odors, interacting with a second olfactory system that exists in animals such as mice, but not in humans.
“Unlike people, mice have essentially two functional noses,” said Dr. Demir.
“The first nose works like ours: processing aromas like stinky odor particles found in the urine.”
“But a second system, called the vomernasal nose or Jacobson’s organ, evolved specifically to perceive pheromones like darcina.”
The team also discovered that a group of cells in an area of the mouse brain area, the medial tonsil, unifies this information from the outside world with the animal’s own internal state. In the image, neurons in the medial tonsil. Those activated by darcin are seen in orange
The team also discovered that a group of cells in an area of the mouse brain area unifies this information from the outside world with the animal’s own internal state.
“Pheromones act as powerful odor messages to indicate the presence of danger, food or possible partners,” said Dr. Demir.
“With today’s study, we have mapped the path taken by the pheromone darcina from the nose to the brain, providing a much-needed understanding of the mechanisms by which animals use smells to communicate.”
Exposed to the special protein, called ‘darcina’, in the urine marks, the females showed an immediate attraction and then began to leave their own marks.
However, the team found that, among the mice, nursing mothers, after an initial sense of interest, largely ignored the aroma marks with darcin.
They suggested that the reason for this is rooted in a subset of brain cells called ‘nNOS neurons’ that are activated in the presence of darcina.
“By artificially activating those neurons, we could simulate the response of animals to darcina and cause the same behaviors,” said Dr. Demir.
“When we silenced these neurons, the animal lost interest in darcina completely.”
The team notes that nNOS neurons are found in the so-called ‘medial tonsil’ of the brains of mice, a region that is usually associated with emotional responses such as anger and fear.
However, when it comes to darcine pheromone, the medial tonsil may play a different role.
“Our results suggest that nNOS neurons in the medial tonsil do not simply transmit information about darcina,” said Dr. Demir.
“These neurons seem to be integrating sensory information about pheromone with the internal state of the animal, as if it is a nursing mother and, therefore, is not interested in mating.”
With their full initial study, the researchers plan to delve into the neural circuitry involved in the response to pheromones, and how changes in that circuit can drive behavior.
They also hope to review the way pheromones are defined in general.
“Pheromones have long been associated with an innate and immediate behavior response, but here we have shown that darcina can cause complex behaviors that depend on the animal’s internal state,” said Dr. Demir.
“As we continue our research, it is possible that other pheromones also act in the brain in equally unexpected and complex ways.”
The full findings of the study were published in the journal. Nature.