In vivo stimulus presentation to the mouse vomeronasal system: Surgery, experiment, setup, and software

Michal Yoles-Frenkel, Oksana Cohen, Rohini Bansal, Noa Horesh, Yoram Ben-Shaul*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background Achieving controlled stimulus delivery is a major challenge in the physiological analysis of the vomeronasal system (VNS). New method We provide a comprehensive description of a setup allowing controlled stimulus delivery into the vomeronasal organ (VNO) of anesthetized mice. VNO suction is achieved via electrical stimulation of the sympathetic nerve trunk (SNT) using cuff electrodes, followed by flushing of the nasal cavity. Successful application of this methodology depends on several aspects including the surgical preparation, fabrication of cuff electrodes, experimental setup modifications, and the stimulus delivery and flushing. Here, we describe all these aspects in sufficient detail to allow other researchers to readily adopt it. We also present a custom written MATLAB based software with a graphical user interface that controls all aspects of the actual experiment, including trial sequencing, hardware control, and data logging. Results The method allows measurement of stimulus evoked sensory responses in brain regions that receive vomeronasal inputs. An experienced investigator can complete the entire surgical procedure within thirty minutes. Comparison with existing methods This is the only approach that allows repeated and controlled stimulus delivery to the intact VNO, employing the natural mode of stimulus uptake. The approach is economical with respect to stimuli, requiring stimulus volumes as low as 1–2 μl. Conclusions This comprehensive description will allow other investigators to adapt this setup to their own experimental needs and can thus promote our physiological understanding of this fascinating chemosensory system. With minor changes it can also be adapted for other rodent species.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Accessory olfactory bulb
  • Mouse
  • Sensory physiology
  • Sympathetic nerve trunk
  • Vomeronasal organ
  • Vomeronasal system


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