Influence of early-life nutritional stress on songbird memory formation

Bell, B. A., Phan, M. L., Meillere, A., Evans, J. K., Leitner, S., Vicario, D. S. and Buchanan, K. L. 2018, Influence of early-life nutritional stress on songbird memory formation, Proceedings of the royal society b: biological sciences, vol. 285, no. 1887, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2018.1270.

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Title Influence of early-life nutritional stress on songbird memory formation
Author(s) Bell, B. A.
Phan, M. L.
Meillere, A.ORCID iD for Meillere, A.
Evans, J. K.
Leitner, S.
Vicario, D. S.
Buchanan, K. L.ORCID iD for Buchanan, K. L.
Journal name Proceedings of the royal society b: biological sciences
Volume number 285
Issue number 1887
Article ID 20181270
Total pages 8
Publisher Royal Society Publishing
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2018-09-26
ISSN 0962-8452
Keyword(s) IEG
developmental stress
vocal learning
zebra finch
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Evolutionary Biology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Summary In birds, vocal learning enables the production of sexually selected complex songs, dialects and song copy matching. But stressful conditions during development have been shown to affect song production and complexity, mediated by changes in neural development. However, to date, no studies have tested whether early-life stress affects the neural processes underlying vocal learning, in contrast to song production. Here, we hypothesized that developmental stress alters auditory memory formation and neural processing of song stimuli. We experimentally stressed male nestling zebra finches and, in two separate experiments, tested their neural responses to song playbacks as adults, using either immediate early gene (IEG) expression or electrophysiological response. Once adult, nutritionally stressed males exhibited a reduced response to tutor song playback, as demonstrated by reduced expressions of two IEGs (Arc and ZENK) and reduced neuronal response, in both the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM) and mesopallium (CMM). Furthermore, nutritionally stressed males also showed impaired neuronal memory for novel songs heard in adulthood. These findings demonstrate, for the first time, that developmental conditions affect auditory memories that subserve vocal learning. Although the fitness consequences of such memory impairments remain to be determined, this study highlights the lasting impact early-life experiences can have on cognitive abilities.
Language eng
DOI 10.1098/rspb.2018.1270
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 06 Biological Sciences
11 Medical And Health Sciences
07 Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2018, The Author(s)
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