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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Feb 29;97(5):2282-5.

Localized neuronal activation in the zebra finch brain is related to the strength of song learning.

Author information

  • 1Behavioral Biology and Evolutionary Morphology, Institute of Evolutionary Sciences, Leiden University, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands. bolhuis@rulsfb.leidenuniv.nl

Abstract

Songbirds (Oscines) learn their songs from a tutor. It is not known where in the brain the memories of these learned sounds are stored. Recent evidence suggests that song perception in songbirds involves neuronal activation in brain regions that have not traditionally been implicated in the control of song production or song learning, notably the caudal part of the neostriatum (NCM) and of the hyperstriatum ventrale. Zebra finch males (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis) were reared without their father and exposed to a tape-recorded song during the sensitive period for song learning. When, as adults, they were reexposed to the tutor song, the males showed increased expression of the protein products of the immediate early genes egr-1 (ZENK) and c-fos in the NCM and caudal hyperstriatum ventrale, but not in the conventional "song-control nuclei." The strength of the immediate early gene response (which is a reflection of neuronal activation) in the NCM correlated significantly and positively with the number of song elements that the birds had copied from the tutor song. These results show localized neural activation in response to tutor song exposure that correlates with the strength of song learning.

Comment in

  • Singing in the brain. [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000]
PMID:
10681421
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC15792
Free PMC Article
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