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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Olfactory regulation of reproductive function in horses

Olfaction & reproduction in horses

Etalon réalisant un comportement de flehmen
© Guillaume

Context

We are interested on olfactory communication in horses in a sexual context. Especially, we explore how partners exchange informations regarding their physiological status. This interets is also triggered by field applications because stallions are often diffcult to stimulate and collect during the winter, when they are the more available for reproduction. In addition, oestrus detection in the context of artificial insemination in the mare is also an unsolved question. 

More informations on the website of the french riding and horse institute: IFCE.

Results

We have shown that mare's urine content olfactory signals that can be used to indicate the physiological status of the mare. Indeed, when stallions are stimulated with urine of mare in oestrus, there is a significant stimulation of stallion's libido, inducing a shortest latency for semen collection. By constrast, stimulating stallion with urine from anoestrus mares induces a longer latency for semen collection, thus showing its inhibitory nature. We are now looking to identify these molecules.

Institut Français du Cheval et de l'Equitation, PHEROCHEVAL project, 2015-2017