Date of this Version
Kimball, B.A., M. Opiekun, K. Yamazaki, and G.K. Beauchamp. 2014. Immunization alters body odor. Physiology & Behavior 128: 80-85. doi: .org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.022.
Infections have been shown to alter body odor. Because immune activation accompanies both infection and immunization, we tested the hypothesis that classical immunization might similarly result in the alteration of body odors detectable by trained biosensor mice. Using a Y-maze, we trained biosensor mice to distinguish between urine odors from rabies-vaccinated (RV) and unvaccinated control mice. RV-trained mice generalized this training to mice immunized with the equine West Nile virus (WNV) vaccine compared with urine of corresponding controls. These results suggest that there are similarities between body odors of mice immunized with these two vaccines. This conclusion was reinforced when mice could not be trained to directly discriminate between urine odors of RV- versus WNV-treated mice. Next,we trained biosensor mice to discriminate the urine odors of mice treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS; a general elicitor of innate immunological responses) from the urine of control mice. These LPS-trained biosensors could distinguish between the odors of LPS-treated mouse urine and RV-treated mouse urine. Finally, biosensor mice trained to distinguish between the odors of RV-treated mouse urine and control mouse urine did not generalize this training to discriminate between the odors of LPS-treated mouse urine and control mouse urine. From these experiments, we conclude that: (1) immunization alters urine odor in similar ways for RV andWNV immunizations; and (2) immune activation with LPS also alters urine odor but in ways different from those of RV and WNV.