Influence of sex steroid hormones on spatial memory in a songbird

Zoe G. Hodgson, Simone L. Meddle, Julian K. Christians, Todd S. Sperry, Susan Denise Healy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In mammals, sex steroid hormones influence spatial learning and memory abilities but there are few data regarding such effects in birds. We investigated whether non-invasive sex steroid hormone treatment would affect spatial memory task performance of great tits (Parus major). For five consecutive days, birds were fed wax moth larvae injected with either 80 mu g testosterone or 80 mu g estradiol carried in peanut oil immediately prior to behavioral testing. During the 5 days prior to and the 5 days following hormone treatment, birds were fed vehicle-injected larvae. Both hormone manipulations resulted in an elevation of circulating hormone levels within 5 min of larva ingestion. This elevation was sustained for at least 30 min but had no short-term (< 1 day) effect on spatial memory performance. However, performance tended to increase during the first 5 days of vehicle treatment and during both sex steroid treatments whereas it decreased during the 5 days of vehicle treatment following either hormone treatment. These results suggest that both hormones led to some improvement in spatial memory that declined once treatment ended. The great tit hippocampus was found to express androgen and estrogen receptors which would provide a direct site of sex steroid action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-969
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Volume194
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

Keywords

  • Androgen receptor
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Hippocampus
  • Memory
  • Songbird
  • ESTROGEN-RECEPTORS
  • LUTEINIZING-HORMONE
  • RAT HIPPOCAMPUS
  • AVIAN BRAIN
  • ADULT-RATS
  • AROMATASE
  • ANDROGEN
  • TESTOSTERONE
  • FOREBRAIN
  • PASSERINE

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of sex steroid hormones on spatial memory in a songbird'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this