References of "Balthazart, Jacques"
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See detailGlutamate controls brain estrogen synthesis during sexual interactions
de Bournonville, Catherine ULg; Aourz, Najat; Van Eeckhaut, Ann et al

Poster (2014, November 17)

Besides their long-lasting effects mediated by a modulation of gene transcription, brain-derived estrogens can rapidly regulate (within minutes) reproductive behaviors. In vitro, the activity of aromatase ... [more ▼]

Besides their long-lasting effects mediated by a modulation of gene transcription, brain-derived estrogens can rapidly regulate (within minutes) reproductive behaviors. In vitro, the activity of aromatase (AA), the enzyme responsible for the conversion of androgens into estrogens, is also regulated on a similar short time-scale, via phosphorylation of the enzyme resulting from changes in neuronal activity or glutamate release. Acute changes in AA have been documented ex vivo in specific brain regions following exposure to social or stressful stimuli but the mechanism underlying these regulations is not known. To investigate whether glutamate is implicated in these rapid changes in AA, male quail received a unilateral injection of kainate in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM). The left and right preoptic areas were collected 20 min later and assayed separately by the tritiated water technique for AA. As shown previously in preoptic explants maintained in vitro, AA was downregulated in the kainate-injected hemisphere as compared to the non-injected side. To determine whether the decline in AA detected in the POM after a sexual interaction could be mediated by an increased release of glutamate in this region, extracellular glutamate concentration was measured by in vivo microdialysis with a probe implanted in the POM of sexually mature males. Dialysate was collected every 3 minutes over three periods of 15 min when the male was (1) alone, (2) allowed to freely copulate with a female and (3) alone again. A transient rise in extracellular glutamate concentration was observed specifically and immediately after the expression of cloacal contact movements, when semen is transferred to the female. Glutamate returned to a basal level after the female was removed. Together, these results indicate that the mechanism of acute regulation of aromatase activity by glutamate identified in vitro is potentially responsible for the acute regulation of the enzyme observed in vivo following copulation. As rapid changes in brain estrogen synthesis and its actions are apparently related to the control of sexual motivation rather than sexual performance, follow up experiments should now determine whether the release of glutamate in the POM occurs in parallel with an increase in motivation or follows the termination of the copulatory sequence. [less ▲]

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See detailAge-dependent and age-independent effects of testosterone in male quail
Cornil, Charlotte ULg; Schmit, Mélanie; de Bournonville, Catherine ULg et al

in General and Comparative Endocrinology (2014), 208C

Various studies in rodents recently concluded that puberty should be considered as a second period of organization of brain and behavior and that action of sex steroids at that time is long lasting and ... [more ▼]

Various studies in rodents recently concluded that puberty should be considered as a second period of organization of brain and behavior and that action of sex steroids at that time is long lasting and possibly permanent. We tested this notion in male Japanese quail that had been castrated before 3 weeks post- hatch by analyzing whether a similar treatment with exogenous testosterone initiated at 3, 5 or 7 weeks post-hatch has a differential influence on the development of testosterone-dependent morphological, behavioral and neural characteristics that are known to be sexually differentiated. The growth of the androgen-dependent cloacal gland was significantly faster when testosterone treatment was initiated later in life indicating that the target tissue is not ready to fully respond to androgens at 3 weeks post- hatch. The three groups of birds nevertheless developed a gland of the same size typical of intact sexually mature birds. When adults, all birds expressed copulatory behavior with the same frequencies and laten- cies and they displayed the same level of aromatase activity and of vasotocinergic innervation in the pre- optic area as gonadally intact males despite the fact that they had been treated with testosterone for different durations starting at different ages. Surprisingly, the frequency of cloacal sphincter contractions, a measure of appetitive sexual behavior, was significantly higher when testosterone treatment had been initiated later. Together these data provide no clear evidence for an organizational action of testosterone during sexual maturation of male quail but additional experiments should investigate whether estrogens have such an action in females. [less ▲]

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See detailRelationships between rapid changes in local aromatase activity and estradiol concentrations in male and female quail brain.
Dickens, M. J.; de Bournonville, Catherine ULg; Balthazart, Jacques ULg et al

in Hormones and behavior (2014), 65(2), 154-164

Estradiol-17beta (E2) synthesized in the brain plays a critical role in the activation of sexual behavior in many vertebrate species. Because E2 concentrations depend on aromatization of testosterone ... [more ▼]

Estradiol-17beta (E2) synthesized in the brain plays a critical role in the activation of sexual behavior in many vertebrate species. Because E2 concentrations depend on aromatization of testosterone, changes in aromatase enzymatic activity (AA) are often utilized as a proxy to describe E2 concentrations. Utilizing two types of stimuli (sexual interactions and acute restraint stress) that have been demonstrated to reliably alter AA within minutes in opposite directions (sexual interactions=decrease, stress=increase), we tested in Japanese quail whether rapid changes in AA are paralleled by changes in E2 concentrations in discrete brain areas. In males, E2 in the pooled medial preoptic nucleus/medial portion of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (POM/BST) positively correlated with AA following sexual interactions. However, following acute stress, E2 decreased significantly (approximately 2-fold) in the male POM/BST despite a significant increase in AA. In females, AA positively correlated with E2 in both the POM/BST and mediobasal hypothalamus supporting a role for local, as opposed to ovarian, production regulating brain E2 concentrations. In addition, correlations of individual E2 in POM/BST and measurements of female sexual behavior suggested a role for local E2 synthesis in female receptivity. These data demonstrate that local E2 in the male brain changes in response to stimuli on a time course suggestive of potential non-genomic effects on brain and behavior. Overall, this study highlights the complex mechanisms regulating local E2 concentrations including rapid stimulus-driven changes in production and stress-induced changes in catabolism. [less ▲]

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See detailPolicy decisions on endocrine disruptors should be based on science across disciplines: A response to Dietrich, et al.
Gore, A. C.; Balthazart, Jacques ULg; Bikle, D. et al

in Frontiers in neuroendocrinology (2014), 35(1), 2-5

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See detailEndocrine disruptors: A relevant issue for neuroendocrinology also!
Balthazart, Jacques ULg; Levine, Jon E.

in Frontiers in neuroendocrinology (2014), 35(1), 1

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See detailEstrogens control female sexual motivation and receptivity in quail.
de Bournonville, Catherine ULg; Ball, Gregory, F.; Balthazart, Jacques ULg et al

Poster (2013, November 10)

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See detailc-fos down-regulation inhibits testosterone-dependent male sexual behavior and the associated learning
Niessen, Neville-Andrew ULg; Balthazart, Jacques ULg; Ball, Gregory et al

in European Journal of Neuroscience (2013)

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See detailModulation of testosterone-dependent male sexual behavior and the associated neuroplasticity.
Charlier, Thierry; Seredynski, Aurore ULg; Niessen, Neville-Andrew ULg et al

in General and Comparative Endocrinology (2013)

Steroids modulate the transcription of a multitude of genes and ultimately influence numerous aspects of reproductive behaviors. Our research investigates how one single steroid, testosterone, is able to ... [more ▼]

Steroids modulate the transcription of a multitude of genes and ultimately influence numerous aspects of reproductive behaviors. Our research investigates how one single steroid, testosterone, is able to trigger this vast number of physiological and behavioral responses. Testosterone potency can be changed locally via aromatization into 17b-estradiol which then activates estrogen receptors of the alpha and beta subtypes. We demonstrated that the independent activation of either receptor activates different aspects of male sexual behavior in Japanese quail. In addition, several studies suggest that the specificity of testosterone action on target genes transcription is related to the recruitment of specific steroid receptor coactivators. We demonstrated that the specific down-regulation of the coactivators SRC-1 or SRC-2 in the medial preoptic nucleus by antisense techniques significantly inhibits steroid-dependent male-typical copulatory behavior and the underlying neuroplasticity. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the interaction between several steroid metabolizing enzymes, steroid receptors and their coactivators plays a key role in the control of steroid-dependent male sexual behavior and the associated neuroplasticity in quail. [less ▲]

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See detailNeuroestrogens Rapidly Regulate Sexual Motivation But Not Performance
Seredynski, Aurore ULg; Balthazart, Jacques ULg; Christophe, Virginie et al

in Journal of Neuroscience (2013), 33(1), 164-174

Estrogens exert pleiotropic effects on reproductive traits, which include differentiation and activation of reproductive behaviors and the control of the secretion of gonadotropins. Estrogens also ... [more ▼]

Estrogens exert pleiotropic effects on reproductive traits, which include differentiation and activation of reproductive behaviors and the control of the secretion of gonadotropins. Estrogens also profoundly affect non-reproductive traits, such as cognition and neuroprotection. These effects are usually attributed to nuclear receptor binding and subsequent regulation of target gene transcription. Estrogens also affect neuronal activity and cell-signaling pathways via faster, membrane-initiated events. How these two types of actions that operate in distinct timescales interact in the control of complex behavioral responses is poorly understood. Here, we show that the central administration of estradiol rapidly increases the expression of sexual motivation, as assessed by several measures of sexual motivation produced in response to the visual presentation of a female but not sexual performance in male Japanese quail. This effect is mimicked by membrane-impermeable analogs of estradiol, indicating that it is initiated at the cell membrane. Conversely, blocking the action of estrogens or their synthesis by a single intracerebroventricular injection of estrogen receptor antagonists or aromatase inhibitors, respectively, decreases sexual motivation within minutes without affecting performance. The same steroid has thus evolved complementary mechanisms to regulate different behavioral components (motivation vs performance) in distinct temporal domains (long- vs short-term) so that diverse reproductive activities can be properly coordinated to improve reproductive fitness. Given the pleiotropic effects exerted by estrogens, other responses controlled by these steroids might also depend on a slow genomic regulation of neuronal plasticity underlying behavioral activation and an acute control of motivation to engage in behavior. [less ▲]

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See detailFemale sexual and social behaviors are controlled by estrogens
de Bournonville, Catherine ULg; Ball, Gregory F; Balthazart, Jacques ULg et al

Poster (2013)

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See detailFemale sexual motivation is controlled by estrogens in quail
de Bournonville, Catherine ULg; Ball, Gregory F; Balthazart, Jacques ULg et al

Poster (2013)

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See detailLocal estradiol synthesis in the brain and its implication in male and female sexual motivation of Japanese quail
de Bournonville, Catherine ULg; Schmit, Mélanie; Ball, Gregory F et al

in Trabajos del Instituto Cajal (2013)

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See detailAre neuroestrogens implicated in sexual motivation? Development of experimental protocols.
de Bournonville, Catherine ULg; Schmit, Mélanie; Ball, Gregory F et al

Poster (2013)

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See detailRapid control of reproductive behaviour by locally synthesised oestrogens: focus on aromatase.
Cornil, Charlotte ULg; Seredynski, Aurore ULg; de Bournonville, Catherine ULg et al

in Journal of Neuroendocrinology (2013), 25(11), 1070-8

Oestrogens activate nucleus- and membrane-initiated signalling. Nucleus-initiated events control a wide array of physiological and behavioural responses. These effects generally take place within ... [more ▼]

Oestrogens activate nucleus- and membrane-initiated signalling. Nucleus-initiated events control a wide array of physiological and behavioural responses. These effects generally take place within relatively long periods of time (several hours to days). By contrast, membrane-initiated signalling affects a multitude of cellular functions in a much shorter timeframe (seconds to minutes). However, much less is known about their functional significance. Furthermore, the origin of the oestrogens able to trigger these acute effects is rarely examined. Finally, these two distinct types of oestrogenic actions have often been studied independently such that we do not exactly know how they cooperate to control the same response. The present review presents a synthesis of recent work carried out in our laboratory that aimed to address these issues in the context of the study of male sexual behaviour in Japanese quail, which is a considered as a suitable species for tackling these issues. The first section presents data indicating that 17b-oestradiol, or its membrane impermeable analogues, acutely enhances measures of male sexual motivation but does not affect copulatory behaviour. These effects depend on the activation of membrane-initiated events and local oestrogen production. The second part of this review discusses the regulation of brain oestrogen synthesis through post-translational modifications of the enzyme aromatase. Initially discovered in vitro, these rapid and reversible enzymatic modulations occur in vivo following variations in the social and environment context and therefore provide a mechanism of acute regulation of local oestrogen provision with a spatial and time resolution compatible with the rapid effects observed on male sexual behaviour. Finally, we discuss how these distinct modes of oestrogenic action (membrane- versus nucleus-initiated) acting in different time frames (short- versus long-term) interact to control different components (motivation versus performance) of the same behavioural response and improve reproductive fitness. [less ▲]

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See detailSex steroid modulation of sensory processing.
Balthazart, Jacques ULg

in Frontiers in neuroendocrinology (2013), 34(4), 253-4

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See detailNeural pathways mediating control of reproductive behavior in male Japanese quail.
Wild, J. Martin; Balthazart, Jacques ULg

in The Journal of comparative neurology (2013), 521(9), 2067-87

The sexually dimorphic medial preoptic nucleus (POM) in Japanese quail has for many years been the focus of intensive investigations into its role in reproductive behavior. The present study delineates a ... [more ▼]

The sexually dimorphic medial preoptic nucleus (POM) in Japanese quail has for many years been the focus of intensive investigations into its role in reproductive behavior. The present study delineates a sequence of descending pathways that finally reach sacral levels of the spinal cord housing motor neurons innervating cloacal muscles involved in reproductive behavior. We first retrogradely labeled the motor neurons innervating the large cloacal sphincter muscle (mSC) that forms part of the foam gland complex (Seiwert and Adkins-Regan [1998] Brain Behav Evol 52:61-80) and then putative premotor nuclei in the brainstem, one of which was nucleus retroambigualis (RAm) in the caudal medulla. Anterograde tracing from RAm defined a bulbospinal pathway, terminations of which overlapped the distribution of mSC motor neurons and their extensive dorsally directed dendrites. Descending input to RAm arose from an extensive dorsomedial nucleus of the intercollicular complex (DM-ICo), electrical stimulation of which drove vocalizations. POM neurons were retrogradely labeled by injections of tracer into DM-ICo, but POM projections largely surrounded DM, rather than penetrated it. Thus, although a POM projection to ICo was shown, a POM projection to DM must be inferred. Nevertheless, the sequence of projections in the male quail from POM to cloacal motor neurons strongly resembles that in rats, cats, and monkeys for the control of reproductive behavior, as largely defined by Holstege et al. ([1997], Neuroscience 80:587-598). [less ▲]

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See detailPeripubertal proliferation of progenitor cells in the preoptic area of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica).
Mouriec, Karen; Balthazart, Jacques ULg

in Brain research (2013), 1516

Brain structures related to reproduction are thought to depend on the action of gonadal steroids acting either during early life (organizing irreversible effects) or adulthood (activating transient ... [more ▼]

Brain structures related to reproduction are thought to depend on the action of gonadal steroids acting either during early life (organizing irreversible effects) or adulthood (activating transient effects). More recently puberty has become a focus of attention and it was demonstrated that action of sex steroid hormones at this time plays a critical role in the final organization of brain and behavior. We studied by BrdU immunohistochemistry the ontogeny from hatching to sexual maturity of a previously identified cell population in the preoptic area labeled by a BrdU injection at the end of embryonic period (E12) of sexual differentiation in male and female Japanese quail. After an initial increase between E12 and hatching, the density of BrdU-immunoreactive cells decreased until the beginning of puberty but then increased again during sexual maturation in the caudal preoptic area specifically. Divisions of these cells took place in the brain parenchyma as indicated by the large numbers of pairs of labeled cells. No sex difference affecting these processes could be detected at any stage of development. Large numbers of new cells thus arise around puberty in the caudal preoptic area and presumably contribute to the reorganization of this structure that precedes the emergence of adult reproductive behaviors. [less ▲]

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See detailA new method for in vitro detection of bromodeoxyuridine in serum: a proof of concept in a songbird species, the canary.
Barker, Jennifer M.; Charlier, Thierry D.; Ball, Gregory F. et al

in PloS one (2013), 8(5), 63692

Systemic injection of a thymidine analogue such as bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) in vertebrates is commonly used to detect and study cell production during development, adulthood, and pathology, particularly ... [more ▼]

Systemic injection of a thymidine analogue such as bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) in vertebrates is commonly used to detect and study cell production during development, adulthood, and pathology, particularly in studies of adult neurogenesis. Although researchers are applying this technique to multiple species in various physiological conditions, the rate of BrdU clearance from the serum remains unknown in most cases. Changes in this clearance rate as a function of the species, sex or endocrine condition could however profoundly affect the interpretation of the results. We describe a rapid, sensitive, but simple bioassay for post-injection detection and quantification of BrdU in serum. This procedure was shown to be suitable for determining the length of time a thymidine analogue remains in the bloodstream of one avian species and seems applicable to any vertebrate provided sufficiently large blood samples can be collected. This technique was used to demonstrate that, in canaries, BrdU injected at a dose of 100 mg/kg is no longer available for incorporation into DNA between 30 and 60 min post-injection, a delay shorter than anticipated based on the available literature. Preliminary data suggest a similar fast clearance in Japanese quail and mice. [less ▲]

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