Patent Application: Pheromones, LH, Neurogenesis

USPTO application # 20110178009 – Pheromones and the luteinizing hormone for inducing proliferation of neural stem cells and neurogenesis The present invention provides a method of increasing neural stem cell numbers or neurogenesis by using a pheromone, a luteinizing hormone (LH) and/or a human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG). The method can be practiced in vivo to obtain more neural stem cells in situ, which can in turn produce more neurons…


In my 1994 and 1995 presentations, I predicted the role of olfaction and gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) in anti-aging medicine. This included the likely role of pheromones on a gene-cell-tissue-organ-organ system pathway common among mammals. In their patent application, Weiss et al., 2011 have taken this concept much further during the past sixteen years, as was somewhat predicted by the title of the two conferences: The 2nd and 3rd Annual Conference on Anti-aging Medicine & Biomedical Technology for the year 2010. (My presentation abstracts are available on request.)

The advances in neuroscience that led to their patent application are a credit to those who now continue to examine the molecular biology of olfaction, and to further detail its relevance to nearly every aspect of human behavior, which includes those that are associated with aging. But these advances seem to have been all but ignored by those who are involved in research on the age-associated development and decline of human sexual behavior

What is now most telling, however, is that these advances led to the proposal that pheromones and gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH)-modulated luteinizing hormone (LH) effect neurogenesis. Although the patent application (linked above) does not specifically mention neurogenesis in the hippocampus, this was predicted in publications from the same authors and in one by (Lau, Yau, & So, 2011). These authors make it clear that

  • “…pheromone exposure increases neurogenesis…(p. 28)” and that
  • “…the hippocampal neurogenesis is due to the increase of the luteinizing hormone…(p. 29)”

What is not quite clear is the likely role of GnRH and LH-directed steroidogenesis (with the respective roles of other hormones of course) and the development of sex differences in behavior associated with learning and memory, which I have detailed. Clearly, we have animal models that predict the respective roles of the hormones involved and the developmental staging of their involvement during sexual maturation (Kohl, 2007).

Nowhere do the researchers involved in providing details on hippocampal neurogenesis mention that they exclude the effects of non-olfactory/pheromonal stimuli on learning and memory during the development of behavior. They are simply detailing what is known about the molecular biology of behavior. Obviously, in sighted mammals that can hear, both visual input and auditory input can be expected to play important roles in behavioral development, learning and memory, and in aging. But given existing animal models, there is no reason to believe that any sensory input other than olfactory/pheromonal input has greater effects on the hormones that affect behavior.

We have reached a predicted point in time where some neuroscientists understand the role of pheromones and their effect on hormones that affect behavior. Why do so many people continue to feel the need to tell me that I am excluding consideration of non-olfactory/pheromonal input in my model?  I’m not excluding anything! I’m simply accurately representing the relationship between sensory input from the social environment, hormones, and behavior. An accurate representation does not require the involvement of visual and auditory input at any stage of mammalian life, any more than it does in age related neurogenesis associated with learning, memory, and behavior.

Kohl, J. V. (2007). The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences. In M. R. Kauth (Ed.), Handbook of the Evolution of Human Sexuality (pp. 313-369). Binghamton: Haworth Press.

Lau, B. W.-M., Yau, S.-Y., & So, K.-F. (2011). Reproduction: A New Venue for Studying Function of Adult Neurogenesis? Cell Transplant, 20(1), 21-35.


Author: James Kohl