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Lecture 15

BPS 1101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Aphrodisiac, Vomeronasal Organ, Skatole

Biopharmaceutical sciences
Course Code
BPS 1101
William Ogilvie

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Emotions are the result of chemical interactions
Stages of a relationship:
Attraction: Pheromones are chemical messengers that prompt unlearned responses
Pheromones have been used for pest control (non-toxic & species
specific), and insects are attracted to sticky traps baited with pheromones
Have also been used by the CIA to track the movement of spies
Certain plants mimic insect hormones to attract/repel insects
Pheromones occasionally overlap (ex. A species of butterfly & elephants)
Ex. Using female pigs to find truffles (same pheromone as boars)
Skatole is produced by intestinal bacteria & is causes the smell of feces
Made in large amounts by the flavour & fragrance industry & is
used in the vast majority of perfumes (replacement for civet oil)
Present naturally in flowers and has a nice smell in small amounts
Also used as an artificial flavour (ice cream & fruit jellies)
Musk is also used many in perfumes (almost always synthetic [musk
ketone], as the natural product is very expensive)
Vomeronasal organ is in the nose & detects pheromones
Not present in humans, but we may still detect pheromones
Human attraction is primarily visual, not based on pheromones
Romantic love: Stimulates reward systems in the brain stem (dopamine)
Phenethylamine triggers the dopamine release
Increase in dopamine causes serotonin levels to increase
Serotonin levels control mood: high = anxiety, low = depression &
obsessive compulsive behaviors
Long term attachment and bonding: Vasopressin (♂) & Oxytocin (♀)
Oxytocin is also released during labour, stimulates contractions & bonding
Also released during lactation
Both hormones are secreted during sex (especially during orgasm)
Prairie voles are monogamous & have high levels of oxytocin
When the receptors are blocked they become promiscuous
Mountain voles are promiscuous and lack high levels of oxytocin
When oxytocin is added they become more social, but not
monogamous (they lack the receptors)
Are humans meant to be monogamous? Probably not
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