Androgens Alter the Tuning of Electroreceptors

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Science  13 Aug 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4560, pp. 635-637
DOI: 10.1126/science.217.4560.635


Weakly electric fish possess electroreceptors that are tuned to their individual electric organ discharge frequencies. One genus, Sternopygus, displays both ontogenetic and seasonal shifts in these frequencies, possibly because of endocrine influences. Systemic treatment with androgens lowers the discharge frequencies in these animals. Concomitant with these changes in electric organ discharge frequencies are decreases in electroreceptor best frequencies; hence the close match between discharge frequency and receptor tuning is maintained. These findings indicate that the tuning of electroreceptors is dynamic and that it parallels natural shifts in electric organ discharge frequency.