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Male Song Quality Modulates c-Fos Expression in the Auditory Forebrain of the Female Canary

Abstract : In canaries, specific phrases of male song (sexy songs, SS) that are difficult to produce are especially attractive for females. Females exposed to SS produce more copulation displays and deposit more testosterone into their eggs than females exposed to non-sexy songs (NS). Increased expression of the immediate early genes c-Fos or zenk (a.k.a. egr-1) has been observed in the auditory forebrain of female songbirds hearing attractive songs. C-Fos immunoreactive (Fos-ir) cell numbers were quantified here in the brain of female canaries that had been collected 30min after they had been exposed for 60min to the playback of SS or NS or control white noise. Fos-ir cell numbers increased in the caudomedial mesopallium (CMM) and caudomedial nidopallium (NCM) of SS birds as compared to controls. Song playback (pooled SS and NS) also tended to increase average Fos-ir cell numbers in the mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH) but this effect did not reach full statistical significance. At the individual level, Fos expression in CMM was correlated with its expression in NCM and in MBH but also with the frequency of calls that females produced in response to the playbacks. These data thus indicate that male songs of different qualities induce a differential metabolic activation of NCM and CMM. The correlation between activation of auditory regions and of the MBH might reflect the link between auditory stimulation and changes in behavior and reproductive physiology.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 10:46:05 AM
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Marie Monbureau, Jennifer M. Barker, Gérard Leboucher, Jacques Balthazart. Male Song Quality Modulates c-Fos Expression in the Auditory Forebrain of the Female Canary. Physiology and Behavior, Elsevier, 2015, 147, pp.7-15. ⟨10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.04.005⟩. ⟨hal-01478448⟩



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