Morphology of axonal projections from the high vocal center to vocal motor cortex in songbirds.
ABSTRACT Only birds that learn complex vocalizations have telencephalic brain regions that control vocal learning and production, including HVC (high vocal center), a cortical nucleus that encodes vocal motor output in adult songbirds. HVC projects to RA (robust nucleus of the arcopallium), a nucleus in motor cortex that in turn projects topographically onto hindbrain neurons innervating vocal muscles. Individual neurons projecting from HVC to RA (HVC(RA) ) fire sparsely to drive RA activity during song production. To advance understanding of how individual HVC neurons encode production of learned vocalizations, we reconstructed single HVC axons innervating RA in adult male zebra finches. Individual HVC(RA) axons were not topographically organized within RA: 1) axon arbors of HVC cell bodies located near each other sent branches to different subregions of RA, and 2) branches of single HVC axons terminated in different locations within RA. HVC(RA) axons also had a simple, sparse morphology, suggesting that a single HVC neuron activates a limited population of postsynaptic RA neurons. These morphological data are consistent with previous work showing that single HVC(RA) neurons burst sparsely for a brief period of time during the production of a song, indicating that ensembles of HVC(RA) neurons fire simultaneously to drive small temporal segments of song behavior. We also examined the morphology of axons projecting from HVC to RA cup, a region surrounding RA that receives input from auditory cortex. Axons projecting to RA cup also sent some branches into RA, suggesting direct integration between the sensory and motor circuits for song control.
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ABSTRACT: Connections of two telencephalic vocal control nuclei, the hyperstriatum ventrale, pars caudale (HVc), and robust nucleus of the archistriatum (RA), were investigated in adult canaries. Methods used were transport of horseradish peroxidase and 3H-adenosine and silver staining of degenerating axons. Three nuclei project to HVc: medial nucleus magnocellularis of the anterior neostriatum (MAN), nucleus interfacialis (NIf) of midneostriatum, and nucleus uvaeformis (Uva) of the diecephalon. Uva also projects to NIf. NIf and Uva have not been described previously. HVc projects to area X of lobus parolfactorius, to RA, and to field Avalanche of hyperstriatum ventrale. Nucleus RA receives projections from HVc and from lateral MAN. All these projections are ipsilateral. No gross male/female differences were apparent in the projections to and from HVc. Uptake of HRP by cell somata in HVc following localized injections of this substance into RA or HVc suggests that HVc is composed of rostrocaudally organized clusters of cells, with little lateral communication between them.The Journal of Comparative Neurology 07/1982; 207(4):344-57. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We demonstrate numerically that a brief burst consisting of two to six spikes can propagate in a stable manner through a one-dimensional homogeneous feedforward chain of nonbursting neurons with excitatory synaptic connections. Our results are obtained for two kinds of neuronal models: leaky integrate-and-fire neurons and Hodgkin-Huxley neurons with five conductances. Over a range of parameters such as the maximum synaptic conductance, both kinds of chains are found to have multiple attractors of propagating bursts, with each attractor being distinguished by the number of spikes and total duration of the propagating burst. These results make plausible the hypothesis that sparse, precisely timed sequential bursts observed in projection neurons of nucleus HVC of a singing zebra finch are intrinsic and causally related.Physical Review E 08/2006; 74(1 Pt 1):011918. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Songs of birds comprise hierarchical sets of vocal gestures. In zebra finches, songs include notes and syllables (groups of notes) delivered in fixed sequences. During singing, premotor neurons in the forebrain nucleus HVc exhibited reliable changes in activity rates whose patterns were uniquely associated with syllable identity. Neurons in the forebrain nucleus robustus archistriatalis, which receives input from the HVc, exhibited precisely timed and structured bursts of activity that were uniquely associated with note identity. Hence, units of vocal behavior are represented hierarchically in the avian forebrain. The representation of temporal sequences at each level of the hierarchy may be established by means of a decoding process involving interactions of higher level input with intrinsic local circuitry. Behavior is apparently represented by precise temporal patterning of spike trains at lower levels of the hierarchy.Science 10/1996; 273(5283):1871-5. · 31.03 Impact Factor