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Science journal: Catnip also repel mosquitoes?
Science journal: Catnip also repel mosquitoes? The nepetalactone in the silver vine has a dual effect, which can repel mosquitoes and make cats have a strong sense of spiritual pleasure.
Two plants, catnip and silver vine, hold a special place in the hearts of cats. When cats encounter these plants, they will rub their heads and faces with these plants and roll on the ground, showing a very pleasant state, and then wandering around in an intoxicating posture. Therefore, many people call catnip “cat drugs”. So many people put catnip or silver vine leaves on cat toys.
Although this kind of catnip response to catnip and silver vine is well known, its biological function and underlying mechanism are still unclear. It is still unclear what is the use of catnip addiction to cats, and how catnip causes it. This behavior of cats.
On January 21, 2021, researchers from Iwate University in Japan published a research paper titled: The characteristic response of domestic cats to plant iridoids allows them to gain chemical defense against mosquitoes in the Science Advances magazine.
The study shows that cats rub their bodies with catnip and silver vine, which can transfer chemicals from plants to themselves, protecting themselves from mosquito bites.
In addition, the study also found that among the various compounds in Yinteng that can intoxicate cats, nepetalactone has the strongest response. Nepetalactone can increase cats’ plasma β-endorphin levels and make cats mentally happy.
In other words, the nepetalactone in the silver vine has a dual effect, which can repel mosquitoes and make cats have a strong sense of spiritual pleasure.
Nepetalactone is active on various cats
The research team found that nepetalactone has the strongest response among the various compounds that make cats intoxicated by silver vine. For further research, the research team tested 25 laboratory cats, 30 wildcats and captive big cats (including 1 Amur leopard, 2 jaguars and 2 Eurasian lynx).
The results show that cats are exposed to filter paper containing nepetalactone for a long time, while animals such as dogs and mice do not. This shows that nepetalactone has biological activity on various cats.
Nepetalactone can activate endorphins to produce pleasure
By observing the cat’s behavioral response to catnip exposure, the cat showed extreme pleasure. For humans, the μ opioid system controls human rewards and pleasure.
The research team tested cats’ plasma levels of β-endorphin (an endogenous opioid) 5 minutes before and after exposure to 200μg of nepetalactone (equivalent to the content of about 10 leaves). The monitoring results showed that the plasma β-endorphin concentration of cats increased significantly after exposure to nepetalactone.
After naloxone inhibits cats’ opioid receptors, these cats no longer like to touch and rub filter paper containing nepetalactone.
This indicates that the strong pleasurable effect of nepetalactone on cats is achieved by activating β-endorphin.
Mosquito repellent activity of nepetalactone
The research team found that cats will, regardless of difficulties, try to rub their head and face on the nepetalactone filter paper high in the cage, and this rubbing behavior can transfer nepetalactone to itself. Mosquito bites experiments show that there are fewer mosquitoes on the heads of cats that are rubbed against nepetalactone.
These results indicate that cats can transfer nepetalactone to their head and facial fur by rubbing on the leaves, thereby playing a mosquito repellent effect, indicating that this unique friction and rolling of cats can provide themselves with repellent Phytochemicals from mosquitoes.
In general, the study shows that cats’ sensitive sense of smell can smell nepetalactone in silver vine leaves, thereby stimulating the release of β-endorphin in the body, and high levels of β-endorphin can affect mu opioid receptors. The activation of the cat will cause friction and rolling behavior. At the same time, cats will transfer nepetalactone to their body when rubbing the leaves, thereby repelling mosquitoes.
This study provides new insights into the characteristics of cats, and shows that the nepetalactone contained in silver vine has a dual effect on cats. It can not only make cats feel happy, but also help drive mosquito.
(source:internet, reference only)