A slow transient electric potential change (electro-olfactogram, EOG) can be recorded through an Ag-AgCl electrode placed on the olfactory epithelium in response to stimulation with an air stream to the tissue in toads (Bufo japonicus). During the breeding season, oscillatory potential changes (OSC) superimpose on the EOG. In the present study the OSC amplitude was found to be highly correlated with the migratory behavior. Since toads track the route to and from the breeding pond using olfactory cues along the migration route, the enhanced OSC should be responsible for the breeding migration. A significant positive correlation was found between plasma gonadotropin levels and the OSC amplitude in males captured during the breeding migration. There was no significant relationship between plasma gonadotropin levels and the OSC amplitude in female toads during the breeding season, but there was a significant correlation between plasma progesterone levels and the OSC amplitude. In males, hypophysectomy just before the breeding season decreased the OSC amplitude. And testis weight was also positively correlated with the OSC amplitude in January. These results suggest that the appearance of the OSC is related to the timing of the activation of the reproductive system. However, treatment of toads with hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), testosterone, estradiol or progesterone in the non-breeding season did not induce a significant change in the OSC amplitude. Other factor or factors may be required in activation of the olfactory system of the toad in a non-reproductive stage together with the hormones of the gonadal axis.
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