Gonadal hormones induce dendritic growth in the adult avian brain

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Science  09 Oct 1981:
Vol. 214, Issue 4517, pp. 202-204
DOI: 10.1126/science.7280692


Ovariectomized adult female canaries were treated with physiological doses of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, or estradiol. Singing, which is typical of males, occurred in the testosterone-treated birds but not in any of the other birds. The effect of these hormones was assessed on dendrites from a class of neurons in the nucleus robustus archistriatalis (RA), a forebrain nucleus for song control. The RA neurons of the testosterone-treated birds had dendritic trees resembling those of intact males. The RA neurons of the estradiol- and dihydrotesterone-treated birds resembled those of intact females. All hormone-treated groups had dendrites that were significantly longer than those of untreated ovariectomized females. Thus gonadal hormones induce dendritic growth in the adult avian brain.

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