Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have shown that the hormone vasopressin helps the brain differentiate between familiar and new scents.
The study, published in the journal Nature, suggests that when the hormone fails to function, animals are unable to recognise other individuals from their scent.
The ability to recognise others by smell is crucial in helping animals to establish strong bonds with other animals.
The research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), may offer clues about the way people make emotional connections with others through smell and deepen our understanding of the role scent plays in memory.
Many scientists think a failure in this recognition system in humans may prevent them from forming deep emotional bonds with others.
It is thought that it may be at the root of conditions such as some forms of autism and social phobia.
Researchers, including scientists in Germany and Japan, reached their conclusion by studying the way rats familiarise themselves with other rats through smell.
They placed an adult rat in an enclosure with a baby rat and left them to sniff and interact with each other.
After a short separation, they placed the baby back in the adult's enclosure, together with an unknown baby.
Adult rats whose vasopressin had been blocked failed to recognise the baby they had already met.
Professor Mike Ludwig, who led the study at the University of Edinburgh, said: "This study gives us a window into understanding the biological basis of social interactions.
It may be that vasopressin helps to filter sensory information according to its emotional significance."
Professor Janet Allen, BBSRC Director of Research said, "Research that helps us to gain a fundamental understanding of how our brains work is vital if we are to know what is happening when something has gone wrong. The biological basis of psychological responses can often be extremely complicated, so finding this direct relationship between a hormone and a psycho-social phenomenon could open up a whole wealth of knowledge in this area."
Tara Womersley | EurekAlert!
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy