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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2000

Authors: Fusani, L; Van"t Hof, T; Hutchison, JB; Gahr, M

Title: Seasonal expression of androgen receptors, estrogen receptors, and aromatase in the canary brain in relation to circulating androgens and estrogens.

Source: J Neurobiol (43), 3 254-268.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Fusani Leonida

Songbirds have a complex neural network for learning and production of song, namely the neural song system. Several nuclei of the song system contain androgen receptors (AR), and the neostriatal nucleus HVc also contains alpha type estrogen receptors (ER). Many songbird species show seasonal changes in both song and the neural song system that are correlated with seasonal variations in the circulating levels of gonadal steroids. However, there is increasing evidence that the sensitivity of the song system to gonadal steroids also changes seasonally. This could involve changes in the expression and activity of steroid receptors and steroid-metabolizing enzymes, such as the estrogen-synthesizing enzyme aromatase (AROM). The seasonal regulation of brain AR, ER, and AROM has not been studied before in the same individual songbirds. In this work, we compared plasma levels of androgens and estrogens, the expression level of AR-, ER-, and AROM-mRNA in the telencephalon, and brain AROM activity in male canaries between autumn (November) and spring (April) periods of high singing activity. Plasma levels of androgens and estrogens were higher in April than in November. The expression level of ER in HVc was higher in November than in April. In contrast, the expression level of AROM in the caudomedial neostriatum was higher in April than in November. However, we found no seasonal differences in the level of expression of AR and the volume of HVc as delimited by AR expression. Thus, AR expression in HVc was not correlated with circulating androgen levels. This study shows that both steroid-dependent and -independent seasonal factors regulate the action of gonadal hormones on the song system. In addition, we report a new site of AROM expression in the songbird brain, the nucleus interfacialis.

Keywords Pubmed: Androgens/blood*
Brain Mapping
RNA, Messenger/metabolism
Receptors, Androgen/genetics*
Receptors, Estrogen/genetics*

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