Evidence for olfactory function in utero

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Science  29 Jul 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4609, pp. 478-480
DOI: 10.1126/science.6867725


Pregnant rats received 2-[14C]deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) intravenously on the last day of gestation, and their fetuses were delivered 1 hour later by cesarean section. Fetal brains showed high 2DG uptake spread throughout the accessory olfactory bulb and little or no differential uptake in the main olfactory bulb. These findings demonstrate that functional activity occurs in the accessory olfactory bulb in utero and suggest that the accessory olfactory system may be the pathway by which fetal rats detect the odor quality of their intrauterine milieu.