“We presume that the findings can also be applied to other fungi”, says Ulrich Kück, “such as , which produce immunosuppressives that are used in all organ transplantations”. The researchers conducted the work in the Christian Doppler Laboratory “Biotechnology of Fungi” at the Ruhr-Universität with funding from the Christian Doppler Society (Vienna).
The advantage: the progenies possess a combination of genes from both mating partners and thus have new properties. They compared the results with the effects triggered by phenylethyl alcohol, a traditional floral fragrance.Hedione activated brain areas in the limbic system significantly more strongly than phenylethyl alcohol.These spores only bear the genes of one parent fungus. “Five years ago we already detected the existence of so-called sex genes in “, says Prof. Now, the researchers have discovered specific environmental conditions in which the fungus actually reproduces sexually. Subsequently, they transferred the genetic code for the receptor into cell cultures and, using these cells, demonstrated that Hedione activates the receptor.
Hedione – derived from the Greek word “hedone”, for fun, pleasure, lust – has a pleasant fresh jasmine-magnolia scent and is utilised in many perfumes. Sex-specific brain activation may be related to the release of sex hormones Together with the team headed by Prof Dr med Thomas Hummel from the University Hospital Dresden, the group from Bochum analysed what happens in the brain when a person smells Hedione.
Together with colleagues from Dresden, the Bochum-based researchers showed that the scent of Hedione generates sex-specific activation patters in the brain, which do not occur with traditional fragrances.
“These results constitute compelling evidence that a pheromone effect different from normal olfactory perception indeed exists in humans,” says scent researcher Prof Dr Dr Dr Hanns Hatt.
The limbic system is associated with emotions, memory and motivation. Hatt (2015): The smelling of Hedione results in sex-differentiated human brain activity, Neuroimage, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.20 Dr.
In addition, Hedione activated a specific hypothalamic region, in women more strongly than in men.
The team published the results in the Journal “Neuro Image”.