Most mammalian species have a vomeronasal organ that detects specific chemical substances, such as pheromones. Mucous fluid covering the vomeronasal sensory epithelium is secreted by vomeronasal glands, and the properties of these fluids have been suggested to be involved in chemical detection. Histological studies using periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) and Alcian blue pH 2.5 (AB) stains, which respectively detect natural and acidic polysaccharides, have suggested variations in the nature of the vomeronasal glands among species. Here, we investigated the responsivity of the vomeronasal glands to PAS and AB stains in eight Laurasiatheria species. All species studied herein possessed vomeronasal glands that stained positive for PAS, like other many reported species. The vomeronasal glands of dogs and minks – like rodents, were AB-negative, whereas those of cows, goats, sika deer, musk shrews and two bat species were positive. Considering the present findings and previous reports, the vomeronasal glands in most of Laurasiatheria species appear to be fundamentally abundant in acidic polysaccharides, whereas those in carnivores essentially contains neutral polysaccharides.
- Olfactory system