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Chemosensory cues to conspecific emotional stress activate amygdala in humans.

Mujica-Parodi LR, Strey HH, Frederick B, Savoy R, Cox D, Botanov Y, Tolkunov D, Rubin D, Weber J - PLoS ONE (2009)

Bottom Line: In an fMRI experiment and its replication, we showed that scanned participants showed amygdala activation in response to samples obtained from donors undergoing an emotional, but not physical, stressor.An odor-discrimination experiment suggested the effect was primarily due to emotional, and not odor, differences between the two stimuli.A fourth experiment investigated behavioral effects, demonstrating that stress samples sharpened emotion-perception of ambiguous facial stimuli.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York, United States of America. lmujicaparodi@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Alarm substances are airborne chemical signals, released by an individual into the environment, which communicate emotional stress between conspecifics. Here we tested whether humans, like other mammals, are able to detect emotional stress in others by chemosensory cues. Sweat samples collected from individuals undergoing an acute emotional stressor, with exercise as a control, were pooled and presented to a separate group of participants (blind to condition) during four experiments. In an fMRI experiment and its replication, we showed that scanned participants showed amygdala activation in response to samples obtained from donors undergoing an emotional, but not physical, stressor. An odor-discrimination experiment suggested the effect was primarily due to emotional, and not odor, differences between the two stimuli. A fourth experiment investigated behavioral effects, demonstrating that stress samples sharpened emotion-perception of ambiguous facial stimuli. Together, our findings suggest human chemosensory signaling of emotional stress, with neurobiological and behavioral effects.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Gas chromatography mass spectroscopy analyses of exercise sweat samples were used to validate that our collection and aqueous extraction methods were capable of sampling over hydrophobic (steroid) components in human apocrine sweat.Mass spectrum of retention time 19.512 minutes shows the presence of human steroids found in apocrine sweat.
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pone-0006415-g007: Gas chromatography mass spectroscopy analyses of exercise sweat samples were used to validate that our collection and aqueous extraction methods were capable of sampling over hydrophobic (steroid) components in human apocrine sweat.Mass spectrum of retention time 19.512 minutes shows the presence of human steroids found in apocrine sweat.

Mentions: A typical total ion count GC trace of our samples is shown in Figure 6. Cholesterol comes off the column at 32.07 min and chrysene-d12 comes off at 26.15 min. The GC scan alone demonstrates that our sweat preparation method yielded quite a few hydrophobic molecules, including cholesterol. In Figures 7–8, we show two individual mass spectroscopy scans that focus on molecular ranges around 270. Since some the odorous steroids (e.g. androst-2-en-17-one MW 272.47, androsta-4,16,dien-3-one MW 270, and androstenone MW 272.42) are in this range we selected GC peaks that show m/z 270 and 272. Comparing the mass spectra below to spectra of pure steroid compounds it is apparent that we clearly have androgen steroids in our samples as judged from the distribution of 270, 255 and 237 fragments and 272, 257 and 229 fragments [58]. The potential candidates for these spectra are androstadienones (MW 272) and androstenones (MW 270), which are of the class of compounds associated with putative human reproductive pheromones, found in apocrine sweat.


Chemosensory cues to conspecific emotional stress activate amygdala in humans.

Mujica-Parodi LR, Strey HH, Frederick B, Savoy R, Cox D, Botanov Y, Tolkunov D, Rubin D, Weber J - PLoS ONE (2009)

Gas chromatography mass spectroscopy analyses of exercise sweat samples were used to validate that our collection and aqueous extraction methods were capable of sampling over hydrophobic (steroid) components in human apocrine sweat.Mass spectrum of retention time 19.512 minutes shows the presence of human steroids found in apocrine sweat.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2713432&req=5

pone-0006415-g007: Gas chromatography mass spectroscopy analyses of exercise sweat samples were used to validate that our collection and aqueous extraction methods were capable of sampling over hydrophobic (steroid) components in human apocrine sweat.Mass spectrum of retention time 19.512 minutes shows the presence of human steroids found in apocrine sweat.
Mentions: A typical total ion count GC trace of our samples is shown in Figure 6. Cholesterol comes off the column at 32.07 min and chrysene-d12 comes off at 26.15 min. The GC scan alone demonstrates that our sweat preparation method yielded quite a few hydrophobic molecules, including cholesterol. In Figures 7–8, we show two individual mass spectroscopy scans that focus on molecular ranges around 270. Since some the odorous steroids (e.g. androst-2-en-17-one MW 272.47, androsta-4,16,dien-3-one MW 270, and androstenone MW 272.42) are in this range we selected GC peaks that show m/z 270 and 272. Comparing the mass spectra below to spectra of pure steroid compounds it is apparent that we clearly have androgen steroids in our samples as judged from the distribution of 270, 255 and 237 fragments and 272, 257 and 229 fragments [58]. The potential candidates for these spectra are androstadienones (MW 272) and androstenones (MW 270), which are of the class of compounds associated with putative human reproductive pheromones, found in apocrine sweat.

Bottom Line: In an fMRI experiment and its replication, we showed that scanned participants showed amygdala activation in response to samples obtained from donors undergoing an emotional, but not physical, stressor.An odor-discrimination experiment suggested the effect was primarily due to emotional, and not odor, differences between the two stimuli.A fourth experiment investigated behavioral effects, demonstrating that stress samples sharpened emotion-perception of ambiguous facial stimuli.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York, United States of America. lmujicaparodi@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Alarm substances are airborne chemical signals, released by an individual into the environment, which communicate emotional stress between conspecifics. Here we tested whether humans, like other mammals, are able to detect emotional stress in others by chemosensory cues. Sweat samples collected from individuals undergoing an acute emotional stressor, with exercise as a control, were pooled and presented to a separate group of participants (blind to condition) during four experiments. In an fMRI experiment and its replication, we showed that scanned participants showed amygdala activation in response to samples obtained from donors undergoing an emotional, but not physical, stressor. An odor-discrimination experiment suggested the effect was primarily due to emotional, and not odor, differences between the two stimuli. A fourth experiment investigated behavioral effects, demonstrating that stress samples sharpened emotion-perception of ambiguous facial stimuli. Together, our findings suggest human chemosensory signaling of emotional stress, with neurobiological and behavioral effects.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus