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Infuence of MHC on odour perception of 43 chemicals and body odour

1Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, SI-1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2Blood Transfusion Centre of Slovenia, SI-1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia

© 2010 Versita Warsaw. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Citation Information: Open Life Sciences. Volume 5, Issue 3, Pages 324–330, ISSN (Online) 2391-5412, DOI: 10.2478/s11535-010-0020-6, April 2010

Publication History

Published Online:


The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) is a large gene family that is found in most vertebrates and has an important influence on body odour preference and mate selection in animals. In this research we found, that human leukocyte antigen (HLA) phenotype is strongly connected with the strength and pleasantness of perceived odour of selected chemical compounds found in sweat. Among different chemical classes of compounds tested, the esters of fatty acids such as methyl undecanoate, methyl decanoate, methyl nonanoate, methyl octanoate and methyl hexanoate show strongest connection to HLA. On the other hand, our experiment did not confirm the connection of MHC to the perceived strength and pleasantness of body odour.

Keywords: Major histocompatibility complex (MHC); Human leukocyte antigens (HLA); Odour perception; Sweat; Methyl hexanoate; Musk

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