Socially Modulated Cell Proliferation Is Independent of Gonadal Steroid Hormones in the Brain of the Adult Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

Institute for Neuroscience, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Tex., USA.
Brain Behavior and Evolution (Impact Factor: 2.01). 01/2012; 79(3):170-80. DOI: 10.1159/000335037
Source: PubMed


Gonadal steroid hormones have been shown to influence adult neurogenesis in addition to their well-defined role in regulating social behavior. Adult neurogenesis consists of several processes including cell proliferation, which can be studied via 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) labeling. In a previous study we found that social stimulation altered both cell proliferation and levels of circulating gonadal steroids, leaving the issue of cause/effect unclear. In this study, we sought to determine whether socially modulated BrdU-labeling depends on gonadal hormone changes. We investigated this using a gonadectomy-implant paradigm and by exposing male and female green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) to their conspecific chorus or control stimuli (i.e. random tones). Our results indicate that socially modulated cell proliferation occurred independently of gonadal hormone levels; furthermore, neither androgens in males nor estrogen in females increased cell proliferation in the preoptic area (POA) and infundibular hypothalamus, brain regions involved in endocrine regulation and acoustic communication. In fact, elevated estrogen levels decreased cell proliferation in those brain regions in the implanted female. In male frogs, evoked calling behavior was positively correlated with BrdU-labeling in the POA; however, statistical analysis showed that this behavior did not mediate socially induced cell proliferation. These results show that the social modulation of cell proliferation can occur without gonadal hormone involvement in either male or female adult anuran amphibians, and confirms that it is independent of a behavioral response in males.

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    ABSTRACT: Plasticity in the adult central nervous system has been described in all vertebrate classes as well as in some invertebrate groups. However, the limited taxonomic diversity represented in the current neurogenesis literature limits our ability to assess the functional significance of adult neurogenesis for natural behaviors as well as the evolution of its regulatory mechanisms. In the present study, we used free-ranging red-sided garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis) to test the hypothesis that seasonal shifts in physiology and behavior are associated with seasonal variation in postembryonic neurogenesis. Specifically, we used the thymidine analog 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) to determine if the rates of cell proliferation in the adult brain vary between male snakes collected during spring and fall at 1, 5, and 10 days post-BrdU treatment. To assess rates of cell migration within the brain, we further categorized BrdU-labeled cells according to their location within the ventricular zone or parenchymal region. BrdU-labeled cells were localized mainly within the lateral, dorsal, and medial cortex, septal nucleus, nucleus sphericus, preoptic area, and hypothalamus. In all regions, the number of BrdU-labeled cells in the ventricular zone was higher in the fall compared to spring. In the parenchymal region, a significantly higher number of labeled cells was also observed during the fall, but only within the nucleus sphericus and the combined preoptic area/hypothalamus. The immunoreactive cell number did not vary significantly with days post-BrdU treatment in either season or in any brain region. While it is possible that the higher rates of cell proliferation in the fall simply reflect increased growth of all body tissues, including the brain, our data show that seasonal changes in cell migration into the parenchyma are region specific. In red-sided garter snakes and other reptiles, the dorsal and medial cortex is important for spatial navigation and memory, whereas the nucleus sphericus, septal nucleus, and preoptic area/hypothalamus are central to reproductive regulation. Thus, our results provide support for the hypothesis that adult neurogenesis plays a role in mediating seasonal rhythms in migratory and reproductive behaviors. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 10/2014; 84(3). DOI:10.1159/000364778 · 2.01 Impact Factor