Send to

Choose Destination
J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2011 Feb;197(2):211-25. doi: 10.1007/s00359-010-0603-8. Epub 2010 Nov 4.

A central pacemaker that underlies the production of seasonal and sexually dimorphic social signals: functional aspects revealed by glutamate stimulation.

Author information

Departamento de Neurofisiología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente Estable, Avda Italia 3318, 11600, Montevideo, Uruguay.


The cyclic enrichment of behavioral repertoires is a common event in seasonal breeders. Breeding males Brachyhypopomus gauderio produce electric organ discharge (EOD) rate modulations called chirps while females respond with interruptions. The electromotor system is commanded by a pacemaker nucleus (PN) which sets the basal rate and produces the rate modulations. We focused on identifying functional, seasonal and sexual differences in this nucleus in correlation to these differences in behavior. The in vivo response to glutamate injection in the PN was seasonal, sexually dimorphic and site specific. Non-breeding adults and breeding females injected in dorsal and ventral sites generated EOD rate increases and interruptions, respectively. Reproductive males added a conspicuous communication signal to this repertoire. They chirped repetitively when we injected glutamate in a very restricted area of the ventral-rostral nucleus, surprisingly one with a low number of relay cell somata. This study shows that the PN is functionally organized in regions in a caudal-rostral axis, besides the previously documented dorsal-ventral division. Functional regions are revealed by seasonal changes that annually provide this nucleus with the cellular mechanisms that allow the bursting activity underlying chirp production, only in males.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center