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See detailSexual versus individual differentiation: the controversial role of avian maternal hormones
Carere, C.; Balthazart, Jacques ULg

in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism (2007), 18(2), 73-80

Avian embryos are exposed not only to endogenous sex steroids, which are produced by their gonads and have a key role in sexual differentiation, but also to maternal steroids transferred into the egg yolk ... [more ▼]

Avian embryos are exposed not only to endogenous sex steroids, which are produced by their gonads and have a key role in sexual differentiation, but also to maternal steroids transferred into the egg yolk, which can modulate the development of individual differences in behavior. Studies of maternal hormones have primarily focused on ultimate questions (evolutionary trade-offs, functional significance), whereas proximate mechanistic questions have been largely ignored. A central problem that must be addressed is how exposure to maternal hormones affects the individual phenotype without interfering with sexual differentiation. Separate effects could result from the action of different hormones, at different doses or at different times, on different targets. [less ▲]

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See detailSex differences in projections from preoptic area aromatase cells to the periaqueductal gray in Japanese quail
Carere, C.; Ball, G. F.; Balthazart, Jacques ULg

in Journal of Comparative Neurology (2007), 500(5), 894-907

In many vertebrate species the medial preoptic area projects to a premotor nucleus, the periaqueductal central gray (PAG). This connection plays an important role in the control of reproductive behavior ... [more ▼]

In many vertebrate species the medial preoptic area projects to a premotor nucleus, the periaqueductal central gray (PAG). This connection plays an important role in the control of reproductive behavior. In male Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) specifically, the medial preoptic nucleus (POM), where various types of sensory inputs converge, is a critical site for the activational action of testosterone on male sexual behavior. To activate male copulatory behavior, testosterone must be aromatized to estradiol within the POM and aromatase-immunoreactive cells in the POM are the main source of projections to the PAG. The POM-PAG connection is thus an important functional circuit integrating the sensory with premotor components of sexual behavior. Contrary to what is observed in males, testosterone does not activate male-typical copulatory behavior in females and we investigated here via retrograde tracing methods whether this behavioral sexual difference is associated with a sex difference in connectivity between POM and PAG. Fluorescent microspheres were injected in the PAG of male and female quail and retrogradely labeled fluorescent cells counted in four fields of the POM in sections that had been immunolabeled for aromatase. Males had more aromatase-immunoreactive neurons projecting to the PAG than females and this difference was most prominent in the caudolateral part of the nucleus that has been specifically implicated in the control of male copulatory behavior. These data therefore support the hypothesis that sex differences in POM-PAG connectivity are causally linked to the sex difference in the behavioral response to testosterone. [less ▲]

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See detailSocial context affects testosterone-induced singing and the volume of song control nuclei in male canaries (Serinus canaria)
Boseret, Géraldine ULg; Carere, C.; Ball, G. F. et al

in Journal of Neurobiology (2006), 66(10), 1044-1060

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See detailTestosterone-induced singing is regulated by social status in male canaries (serinus canaria)
Carere, C.; Boseret, Géraldine ULg; Ball, G. F. et al

in Hormones & Behavior (2005, June), 48(1), 92

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