Olfactory stimulation induces cerebellar vermis activation during sexual learning in male rats
The cerebellum is a complex structure mainly recognized for its participation in motor activity and balance, and less understood for its role in olfactory processing. Herein, we assessed Fos immunoreactivity (Fos-IR) in the cerebellar vermis following exposure to different odors during sexual training in male rats. Males were allowed to copulate for either one, three or five sessions. One day after the corresponding session they were exposed during 60min to woodshaving that was either: clean (Control), sprayed with almond scent (Alm) or from cages of sexually receptive females (RF). The vermis of the cerebellum was removed, cut in sagittal sections and analyzed for Fos-IR to infer activation. Our results showed that the cerebellum responded with more Fos-IR in the Alm and RF groups as compared to Control. More copulatory sessions resulted in more odor-induced Fos-IR, especially in the RF group. Accordingly, we discuss possible mechanisms on how the cerebellum mediates processing of both unconditioned and conditioned odors, and how sexual experience accelerates such process.