Previous studies of mating preference signified that mice can sense one another's major histocompatibility complex (MHC) types, probably by olfaction. This conclusion has now been substantiated by the use of a Y-maze whose two arms were differentially scented with currents of air conducted through boxes occupied by B6 (H-2b) males and by B6-H-2k congenic males. Four B6 mice, two males and two females, were successfully trained, by water deprivation and reward, to enter the arm scented by B6 or B6-H-2k males. One of the males and one of the females were trained to select the B6-scented arm; the other male and female were trained to select the B6-H-2k-scented arm. Untrained mice showed no MHC discrimination in the maze. The performance of the trained mice in distinguishing between MHC congenic homozygous F2 segregants derived from a cross of B6-H-2k with B6 was as good as their performance in distinguishing the respective inbred strains, thus essentially eliminating alternative and significant additional explanations of MHC-associated sensory discrimination. The data further indicate that chemosensory discrimination of MHC types can be entirely dissociated from sex differences and from the circumstances of mating.
Recognition among mice. Evidence from the use of a Y-maze differentially scented by congenic mice of different major histocompatibility types.
K Yamazaki, M Yamaguchi, L Baranoski, J Bard, E A Boyse, L Thomas; Recognition among mice. Evidence from the use of a Y-maze differentially scented by congenic mice of different major histocompatibility types.. J Exp Med 1 October 1979; 150 (4): 755–760. doi: https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.150.4.755
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