1. Neuroscience
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Uncovering a 'sensitive window' of multisensory and motor neuroplasticity in the cerebrum and cerebellum of male and female starling

  1. Jasmien Orije  Is a corresponding author
  2. Emilie Cardon
  3. Julie Hamaide
  4. Elisabeth Jonckers
  5. Veerle M Darras
  6. Marleen Verhoye  Is a corresponding author
  7. Annemie Van der Linden
  1. University of Antwerp, Belgium
  2. KU Leuven, Belgium
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2021;10:e66777 doi: 10.7554/eLife.66777

Abstract

Traditionally, research unraveling seasonal neuroplasticity in songbirds has focused on the male song control system and testosterone. We longitudinally monitored the song behavior and neuroplasticity in male and female starlings during multiple photoperiods using Diffusion Tensor and Fixel-Based techniques. These exploratory data-driven whole-brain methods resulted in a population-based tractogram confirming microstructural sexual dimorphisms in the song control system. Furthermore, male brains showed hemispheric asymmetries in the pallium, whereas females had higher interhemispheric connectivity, which could not be attributed to brain size differences. Only females with large brains sing but differ from males in their song behavior by showing involvement of the hippocampus. Both sexes experienced multisensory neuroplasticity in the song control, auditory and visual system, and cerebellum, mainly during the photosensitive period. This period with low gonadal hormone levels might represent a 'sensitive window' during which different sensory and motor systems in the cerebrum and cerebellum can be seasonally re-shaped in both sexes.

Data availability

All MRI data have been deposited in Dryad (https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.h44j0zpj8). Source data files have been provided for Figures 3-11.

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jasmien Orije

    Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
    For correspondence
    Jasmien.Orije@uantwerpen.be
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-6699-6221
  2. Emilie Cardon

    Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Julie Hamaide

    Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Elisabeth Jonckers

    Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Veerle M Darras

    Laboratory of Comparative Endocrinology, Biology Department, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-4429-8868
  6. Marleen Verhoye

    Pharmaceutical, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium
    For correspondence
    marleen.verhoye@uantwerpen.be
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Annemie Van der Linden

    Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-2941-6520

Funding

Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (PLASTOSCINE": P7/17")

  • Annemie Van der Linden

Research Foundation - Flanders (G030213N)

  • Annemie Van der Linden

Research Foundation - Flanders (115217N)

  • Jasmien Orije

Research Foundation - Flanders (12R1917N)

  • Elisabeth Jonckers

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: The housing and experimental procedures were performed in agreement with the European directives, Belgian and Flemish laws and were approved by the Committee on Animal Care and Use of the University of Antwerp, Belgium (2014-52).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Timothy D Griffiths, University of Newcastle, United Kingdom

Publication history

  1. Received: January 21, 2021
  2. Accepted: June 6, 2021
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: June 7, 2021 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2021, Orije et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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