Hormone accumulation in song regions of the canary brain

Authors

  • Eliot A. Brenowitz,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology and Zoology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
    • Department of Psychology and Zoology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195
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  • Arthur P. Arnold

    1. Department of Psychology and Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, Brain Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90024-1563
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Abstract

[3H]Testosterone (T) was injected into male and female canaries (Serinus canarius), a species in which females are able to sing but do so more rarely and more simply than males. Autoradiographic analysis revealed that males and females have equal proportions of cells labeled by T or its metabolites in four song control nuclei: the high vocal center (HVC), the lateral portion of the magnocellular nucleus of the anterior neostriatum (IMAN), the robust nucleus of the archistriatum (RA), and the hypoglossal motor nucleus (nXII). Labeled cells were also observed in both sexes in the medial portion of MAN, and in hypothalamic nuclei. In both sexes, labeled cells in HVC, IMAN, RA, and nXII were larger than unlabeled cells. There were no sex differences in the size of either labeled or unlabeled cells in these song nuclei. The density of labeled cells per unit volume of tissue did not differ between the sexes in any song nucleus analyzed. However, because males have larger HVC and RA than females, males have a greater total number of hormone-sensitive cells in these regions than do females. Comparison of these results with measures of hormone accumulation in zebra finches and tropical duetting wrens suggests that the complexity of song that a bird can produce is correlated with the total number of hormone-sensitive cells in song nuclei. © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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