Ana G. Gutiérrez-García, Carlos M. Contreras & Remedios Mendoza-López

Universidad Veracruzana, México



2-Heptanone is an alarm pheromone contained in some human fluids, but its role is unknown in chemical communication. In part one of this study, a sample of 24 women provided urine specimens taken around their supposed ovulation days, and a second sample 12 days later. As exclusion criteria, women with anxiety (based on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Spielberger), mood disorders (based on the Clinical Diagnosis of Depression Questionnaire), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (based on the Daily Symptoms Report) were not included in the study. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry indicated that urinary 2-heptanone content was increased approximately two-fold during pre-menstruation compared with the days around ovulation. In part two of this study, 141 male and female volunteers, sniffed this ketone and with a simple questionnaire it was determined that the longest tested duration (180 s) of sniffing 2-heptanone lowered the acceptance of sniffing this ketone again, compared with the shorter sniffing durations (5 and 60 s), with no differences between sexes. The increased concentration of 2-heptanone during the day before menstruation may be considered as part of the functional changes preceding menstruation and sniffing this ketone may produce sensorial-emotional changes depending on time of sniffing, the significance of this deserves further study.

Keywords: 2-Heptanone, Chemosignals, Menstrual cycle, Pheromones, Olfactory system



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