Effects of nutritional stress during different developmental periods on song and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in zebra finches

B. Kriengwatana*, H. Wada, K. L. Schmidt, M. D. Taves, Kiran K Soma, Scott A MacDougall-Shackleton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In songbirds, developmental stress affects song learning and production. Altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function resulting in elevated corticosterone (CORT) may contribute to this effect. We examined whether developmental conditions affected the association between adult song and HPA axis function, and whether nutritional stress before and after nutritional independence has distinct effects on song learning and/or vocal performance. Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) were raised in consistently high (HH) or low (LL) food conditions until post-hatch day (PHD) 62, or were switched from high to low conditions (HL) or vice versa (LH) at PHD 34. Song was recorded in adulthood. We assessed the response of CORT to handling during development and to dexamethasone (DEX) and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenges during adulthood. Song learning and vocal performance were not affected by nutritional stress at either developmental stage. Nutritional stress elevated baseline CORT during development. Nutritional stress also increased rate of CORT secretion in birds that experienced stress only in the juvenile phase (HL group). Birds in the LL group had lower CURT levels after injection of ACTH compared to the other groups, however there was no effect of nutritional stress on the response to DEX Thus, our findings indicate that developmental stress can affect HPA function without concurrently affecting song. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-293
Number of pages9
JournalHormones and Behavior
Volume65
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Corticosterone
  • Avian
  • Vocal performance
  • Developmental stress hypothesis
  • Song learning
  • HPA
  • Dexamethasone
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • Juvenile
  • SPARROWS MELOSPIZA-MELODIA
  • FEMALE MATE CHOICE
  • TAENIOPYGIA-GUTTATA
  • VOCAL PERFORMANCE
  • SEXUAL SELECTION
  • BRAIN NUCLEI
  • PREFER MALES
  • CORTICOSTERONE
  • TRAITS
  • ENVIRONMENT

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