Testosterone and the incidence of hormone target cells in song-control nuclei of adult canaries
Article first published online: 11 OCT 2004
Copyright © 1991 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Journal of Neurobiology
Volume 22, Issue 5, pages 512–521, July 1991
How to Cite
Bottjer, S. W. and Maier, E. (1991), Testosterone and the incidence of hormone target cells in song-control nuclei of adult canaries. J. Neurobiol., 22: 512–521. doi: 10.1002/neu.480220507
- Issue published online: 11 OCT 2004
- Article first published online: 11 OCT 2004
- Manuscript Accepted: 31 MAR 1991
- Manuscript Received: 13 NOV 1990
Adult male canaries learn to produce high-amplitude complex courtship songs each breeding season, whereas females do not, and brain nuclei involved with the production of song behavior are much larger in breeding males than in nonbreeding males or females (Nottebohm, 1980, 1981). However, treatment of adult females with testosterone (T) causes them to produce male-like song and stimulates pronounced growth of some song-control brain nuclei such as the caudal nucleus of the ventral hyperstriatum (HVc). We reexamined the effects of T on song-control nuclei in deafened birds. In order to examine whether the pattern of hormone accumulation varies as a function of circulating testosterone levels we described the distribution of testosterone-concentrating cells in HVc and the magnocellular nucleus of the anterior neostriatum (MAN) in hearing adult male, female, and T-treated female canaries, as well as in deaf T-treated and untreated females. In contrast to our previous findings (Bottjer, Schoonmaker, and Arnold, 1986a), we observed no tendency in this study for testosterone-induced growth of HVc to be attenuated in deafened birds. There was no difference between deaf and hearing birds in the incidence of labeled cells within HVc. We also observed no sex or hormone-induced differences in the percentage of hormone-concentrating cells in HVc: normal females have approximately the same proportion of hormone target cells as do males and T-treated females. However, males normally have many more neurons in HVc than do control females, and systemic exposure to testosterone induces a pronounced increase in the number of HVc neurons of adult females. Therefore, the absolute number of hormone target cells in HVc is likely to be much greater in males and T-treated females than in normal females. As in HVc, there were no differences among groups in the proportion of labeled cells within lateral MAN (IMAN), a nucleus that has been implicated in song learning (Bottjer, Miesner and Arnold, 1984). In contrast, the incidence of hormone target cells in medial MAN (mMAN) did vary as a function of hormonal condition: although mMAN of normal females is rarely visible in Nissl-stained sections and cells in this region are not hormone labeled, mMAN is clearly visible in Nisslstained sections of males and T-treated females and contains many hormone-labeled cells. This testosterone-induced change in the phenotype of mMAN cells suggests a possible role for mMAN in learned song behavior.