IUBio

another wild idea

x011 at Lehigh.EDU x011 at Lehigh.EDU
Tue Apr 18 08:10:52 EST 1995


Old men who marry young women live significantly longer.
Old women who marry young men live significantly longer.
SPECTULATION:
Pheromones may be a used as a message system to order the reversal of
aging.  This could be check out in a nursing home with young nurses
taking care of old men.  Babies around old women may signal a reversal
of aging.

The following got me going:
In article <3mtsg0$mqb at netnews.upenn.edu>, wysocki at pobox.upenn.edu (Charles J. W
ysocki) writes:
>OWEN MEYERS (MEYERS at MCCLB0.MED.NYU.EDU) wrote:
>: A friend has made a request of me that I am ill equipped to handle. If
>: anyone can be of assistance, I would appreciate it. You can e-mail all
>: information to me.
>
>I have taken the liberty to post this response rather than a direct reply
>because there is considerable misunderstanding in the popular press about
>pheromones in general and especially about human chemical communication.
>
>: explanation about pheromones and ectohormones.  Basically I need to know
>: what happens to humans when we smell these scents.  After we inhale,
>: does this stimulus travel to our brains and then to nerve endings?, etc.
>
>In the original definition, a pheromone was a single chemical compound
>or limited set of compounds that, when released by the sender and
>detected by the recipient (of the same species), would elicit a
>stereotypical response each and every time.  Unfortunately, for most
>pheromonal responses, each of the components of the definition have
>fallen by the wayside.  Even for insects, wherein much more is known
>about pheromones than for mammals, the complexity is enormous.  For some
>responses the chemical stimulus is a bouquet, composed of a delicately
>balanced mixture of many compounds.  In other situations, the "pheromone"
>crosses species lines.  For example, the "pheromone" may be released by a
>predator who is sending out a mimic-message -- the sex-attractant of the
>female of the prey species.  The male responds to the amorous message
>only to find itself in the jaws of its prey.  In other situations, there
>may be considerable learning or context specificity, not at all what was
>in mind when the original definition was presented.  Furthermore, there
>is considerable diversity in the type of message/response that can occur.
>
>In general there are three types of pheromones:  primer, releaser and
>signalling.
>
>i) A primer pheromone may or may not be "smelled" per se, i.e., recognized
>as an odor.  It induces long-term effects, typically as a result of a
>neuroendocrine response.  For example, there are situations where expsoure
>to the chemical signals of the opposite sex will stimulate the onset of
>puberty -- the exposed animal reaches puberty before the unexposed animal.
>In other situations, exposure of a recently inseminated female to the
>chemical signals of a strange male will induce pregnancy failure.  In one
>species of voles, this can take place as late as a few day away from birth
>resulting in a "miscarriage."
>
>ii) A releaser pheromone is what people generally think of when they hear
>the term pheromone.  It is a chemical signal that elicits a recordable
>response, e.g. sexual attraction.  There are many examples of releaser
>pheromones in the literature; unfortunately, the chemical identity of
>most releaser pheromones in unknown.
>
>iii) The third, and most problematic type of pheromone, is the signalling
>pheromone -- chemicals that provide information but do not necessarily
>elicit a behavioral response.  For example, among mammals, each individual
>(including humans) has a unique odor-print that is, in part, genetically
>determined by genes in the major histocompatibility complex (a set of
>genes that regulates the immune response).  Odor-prints allow mothers to
>recognize their own baby on the day of birth and for new-borns to
>recognize their mother by scent alone.  Signalling pheromones also
>provide information about social status, e.g., level of dominance in a
>group, diet, gender, age, etc.  Signalling pheromones are informational.
>
>Among humans, NO releaser pheromones have been identified, although there
>have been comercial products that claim the contrary.  There are
>fragrances that possess pheromones of other mammals, e.g., a pig releaser
>pheromone, androstenone or androstenol, that induces sows to assume the
>mating posture if they are in heat.  There are some suggestions that
>humans may have primer pheromones.  Females that live together tend to
>syncronize their menstrual cycles.  Some studies have generated evidence
>that this syncrony may be based in part in chemical communication between
>the females.  There is yet another small group of studies to suggest that
>the chemical cues from males tend to regularize the cycles of females.
>
>: I'm considering writing an article about men's and women's fragrances, and
>: how we, as humans, are attracted to these scents.
>
>In the world of pheromones, many primer pheromones are detected via a
>specialized structure in the nose, the vomeronasal organ.  There has been
>a recent resurgence of interest in this structure because of possibility
>that humans may possess this chemosensory organ.  Like olfaction,
>sensory receptors in the nose have specialized receptor proteins on their
>external membrane (in the mucus overlying the sensory sheet).  These
>receptor proteins are most likely analogous to neurotransmitter or
>hormone receptors.  When activated by a ligand, these receptors transduce
>the chemical information into an electrical response that is conveyed
>along the axon of the cell to the respective structure in the brain --
>the olfactory bulb for olfaction and the accessory olfactory bulb for
>vomeronasal receptors.
>
>I am going to take this discussion one step further by including
>information that I have posed in this group in the past.  I do this
>because of its relevance to this thread.
>
>--------------------old thread starts here------------
>
>     The terms vomeronasal organ and Jacobson's organ have been used
>interchangeably; however, the homology has yet to be demonstrated.
>Throughout many decades of comparative research, it became clear that some
>amphibians, most reptiles, and most mammals have a vomeronasal organ
>(birds lack this structure -- it is present during embryogenesis but
>disappears).  The problems begin to arise when descriptions of primates
>became available.  There is no question that New World primates have a
>fully developed vomeronasal organ.  Where it has been investigated,
>prosimians also have a vomeronasal organ.  Whether Old World primates
>possess a vomeronasal organ (and hence an accessory olfactory system in
>general) remains wide open for discussion.  One can find as many
>references to support the argument that, as adults, Old World primates
>lack a vomeronasal organ as references to support the claim that they have
>a vomeronasal organ (see Wysocki, C.J. 1979 Neurobehavioral evidence for
>the involvement of the vomeronasal system in mammalian reproduction.
>Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 3, 301-341).  If Old World
>primates have a vomeronasal organ, then it is possible that humans also
>have a vomeronasal organ.  If Old World primates lack a vomeronasal organ
>and a vomeronasal system one would be hard pressed to generate an argument
>that this structure reemerged with the advent of homo sapiens.  If the
>former, then Jacobson's Organ may be homologous with the vomeronasal
>organ, but there is much comparative work to be done to demonstrate this.
>
>     It is true that the bipolar receptor cells of animals that have a
>well-defined vomeronasal organ project to the accessory olfactory bulb.
>This has NOT been demonstrated for humans or for any other Old World
>primate.  As a side issue, the term accessory olfactory is a misnomer.  In
>many instances, the accessory olfactory system, with its receptors in the
>vomeronasal organ, is primary, i.e., it is the system that is critical in
>response to some chemical signals, especially those that affect
>reproductive physiology or behavior.
>
>     Electrical responses, equivalent to generator potentials, have been
>recorded from the human Jacobson's organ; however, one should be cautious in
>interpreting the origin of these responses.  Furthermore, it is possible
>to generate autonomic responses from activation of free nerve endings of
>the trigeminal nerve endings of the trigeminal nerve, which innervates the
>vomeronasal organ.  As for the reported sexual dimorphism in the
>electrical response -- there could be numerous reasons, including
>differences in the mucus layer.
>
>     Another big question that remains unanswered is whether Jacobson's
>Organ has a neural connection with the brain that is like that seen in
>other species that possess a functional vomeronasal organ.  In the latter,
>there exist bipolar receptor cells whose dendrites possess putative
>pheromone receptors.  To my knowledge none of these have yet been cloned,
>although there are numerous reports of cloned putative olfactory
>receptors, e.g.,
>
>Benarie, N.  Lancet, D., Taylor, C., Khen, M., Walker, N., Ledbetter,
>D.H., Carrozzo, R., Patel, K., Sheer, D., Lehrach, H. and North, M.A.
>Olfactory receptor gene cluster on human chromosome 17 - possible
>duplication of an ancestral receptor repertoire.  Hum. Mol. Genet.
>3:22-235, 1994.
>
>Buck, L. Identification and Analysis of a Multigene Family Encoding
>Odorant Receptors - Implications for Mechanisms Underlying Olfactory
>Information Processing.  Chem. Senses.  18:203-208, 1993.
>
>Buck, L. and Axel, R.  A Novel Multigene Family May Encode Odorant
>Receptors.  A Molecular Basis for Odor Recognition.  Cell 65:175-187,
>1991.
>
>Buck, L.B.  Receptor diversity and spatial patterning in the mammalian
>olfactory system.  Molecular Basis of Smell and Taste Transduction.  179,
>1993.
>
>Chess, A., Buck, L., Dowling, M.M., Axel, R. and Ngai, J. Molecular
>biology of smell - expression of the multigene family encoding putative
>odorant receptors.  Cold Spring Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol. 57505-516: 1992.
>
>Lancet, D., Benarie, N., Cohen, S., Gat, U., Grossisscroff, R. Hornsaban,
>S., Khen, M., Lehrach, H., Natochin, M., North, M., Seidemann, E. and
>Walker, N.  Olfactory receptors - transduction, diversity, human
>psychophysics and genome analysis.  Molecular Basis of Smell and Taste
>Transduction.  179, 1993.
>
>Lancet, D. Grossisseroff, R., Margalit, T., Seidemann, E. and Benarie, N.
>Olfaction - From Signal Transduction and Termination to Human Genome
>Mapping.  Chem. Sense 18:217-225, 1993.
>
>Margalit, T. and Lancet, D.  Expression of Olfactory Receptor and
>Transduction Genes During Rat Development.  Brain Res. Dev. Brain Res.
>73:7-16, 1993.
>
>Ngai, J., Dowling, M.M., Buck, L., Axel, R. and Chess, A.  The Family of
>Genes Encoding Odorant Receptors in the Channel Catfish.  Cell.
>73:657-666, 1993.
>
>Ressler, K.J., Sullivan, S.L. and Buck, L.B.  A zonal organization of
>odorant receptor gene expression in the olfactory epithelium.  Cell.  73:
>597-609, 1993.
>
>Parmentier, M., Libert, F., Schurmans, S., Schiffmann, S., Lefort, A.,
>Eggericks, D., Ledent, Cl, Mollereau, C., Gerard,C., Perret, J.,
>Grootegoed, A. and Vassart, G.  Expression of Members of the Putative
>Olfactory Receptor Gene Family in Mammalian Germ Cells.  Nature.
>355:453-455, 1992.
>
>Schurmans, S., Muscatelli, F., Miot, F., Mattei, M.G., Vassart, G. and
>Parmentier, M. The OLFR1 gene encoding the HGMP07c putative olfactory
>receptor maps to the 17p13->p12 region of the human genome and reveals an
>mspi restriction fragment length polymorphism.  Cytogenet.Cell.Genet.
>63:200-204, 1993.
>
>Vanderhaeghen, P., Schurmans, S., Vassart, G. and Parmeentier, M.
>Olfactory receptors are displayed on dog mature sperm cells.  J.Cell.Biol.
>123:1441-1452, 1993.
>
>     Back to the bipolar receptor cell in the vomeronasal organ -- the
>cell bodies of the bipolar cells are located along the medial wall of a
>lumen within the vomeronasal organ (bilaterally).  The axons of these
>cells exit the vomeronasal organ and traverse the nasal septum, cross the
>cribriform plate, bypass the main olfactory bulbs and synapse in the
>accessory olfactory bulbs.  It is these bipolar cells that many claim are
>lacking in the human.  There are two recent papers that address this
>issue.  The first,
>
>Takami, S., Getchell, M.L., Chen, Y., Montibloch, LO., Berliner, D.L.,
>Stensaas, L.J. and Getchell, T.V.  Vomeronasal epithelial cells of the
>adult human express neuron-specific molecules.  Neuroreport.  4:375-378,
>1993.
>
>purports to have found a few cells that have a bipolar appearance.  The
>cells did stain for some epitopes that are associated with neurons, viz.,
>neuron-specific enolase and PGP 9.5, but these epitopes also are found on
>neuroendocrine cells.  Importantly, the cells did not stain for olfactory
>marker protein, which does react with bipolar cells in other species that
>have been investigated.  The second
>
>Boehm, N. and Gasser, B.  Sensory receptor-like cells in the human foetal
>vomeronasal organ.  Neuroreport.  4:867-870, 1993.
>
>(since this posting, another paper has appeared --
>Boehm, B., Roos, J. and Gasser, B.  Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone
>(LHRH)-expressing cells in the nasal septum of human fetuses.
>Developmental Brain REsearch, 82:175-180, 1994.)
>
>reports the presence of bipolar cells in the early stages of fetal
>development; however, staining is not found in the oldest sample,
>suggesting that a vomeronasal epithelium is present during embryonic
>development but regresses.
>
>     There is considerable evidence to suggest that humans might respond
>to chemical cues that are not detected as a smell or that the responses
>are involuntary.  Some of the most recent are those that address some of
>the points raised by other contributors to this thread.  They include:
>
>Schank, J.C. and McClintock, M.K.  A Coupled-Oscillator Model of
>Ovarian-Cycle Syncrony Among Female Rats. J. Theor. Biol. 157:317-362,
>1992.
>
>Weller, A. and Weller, L. Menstrual Synchrony Between Mothers and
>Daughters and Between Roommates.  Physiol. Behav. 53:943-949, 1993.
>
>Weller, A. and Weller, L.  The impact of social interaction factors on
>menstrual synchrony in the workplace.  Psychoneuroendocrinology.
>20:21-31, 1995.
>
>Weller, J. and Weller, A. Human menstrual synchrony - a critical
>assessment.  Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 17:427-439, 1993.
>
>and earlier work referenced therein.
>
>
>=========================================================================
>Charles J. Wysocki, Ph.D.       wysocki at pobox.upenn.edu
>Monell Chemical Senses Center   FAX:    215-898-2084
>3500 Market Street              Phone:  215-898-4265
>Philadelphia, PA  19104-3308    telex:  7106700328
>




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