Unexplained repeated pregnancy loss is associated with altered perceptual and brain responses to men’s body-odor

Liron Rozenkrantz, Reut Weissgross, Tali Weiss, Inbal Ravreby, Idan Frumin, Sagit Shushan, Lior Gorodisky, Netta Reshef, Yael Holzman, Liron Pinchover, Yaara Endevelt-Shapira, Eva Mishor, Timna Soroka, Maya Finkel, Liav Tagania, Aharon Ravia, Ofer Perl, Edna Furman-Haran, Howard Carp, Noam Sobel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mammalian olfaction and reproduction are tightly linked, a link less explored in humans. Here, we asked whether human unexplained repeated pregnancy loss (uRPL) is associated with altered olfaction, and particularly altered olfactory responses to body-odor. We found that whereas most women with uRPL could identify the body-odor of their spouse, most control women could not. Moreover, women with uRPL rated the perceptual attributes of men’s body-odor differently from controls. These pronounced differences were accompanied by an only modest albeit significant advantage in ordinary, non-body-odor-related olfaction in uRPL. Next, using structural and functional brain imaging, we found that in comparison to controls, most women with uRPL had smaller olfactory bulbs, yet increased hypothalamic response in association with men’s body-odor. These findings combine to suggest altered olfactory perceptual and brain responses in women experiencing uRPL, particularly in relation to men’s body-odor. Whether this link has any causal aspects to it remains to be explored.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55305
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournaleLife
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

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