2007 Volume 53 Issue 6 Pages 1329-1333
The `male effect' is a well-known phenomenon in female sheep and goats, whereby pheromone-induced activation of reproductive function occurs. In a previous study, we showed that the genes for elongation of long-chain fatty acids family member 5 (ELOVL5) and stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) increased their expression significantly, concomitant with induction of pheromone synthesis. Therefore, these genes were considered to be prime candidate genes for pheromone synthesis. In the present study, we performed in situ hybridization to investigate where these two genes are expressed in goat skin. Strong positive signals were detected for both genes in the head skin of the male goat, which is the main site of pheromone production, and were mainly in the basal layer of the sebaceous gland cells, with the remaining cells showing negligible signals. None of the cells in the rump skin of the male goat or the head skin of the orchidectomized goat, neither of which produce pheromone, exhibited strong positive signals. The present study demonstrates that expression of these two candidate genes for pheromone synthesis is primarily localized in the sebaceous glands of the pheromone-producing skin region.