Merck
  • Home
  • Search Results
  • Norepinephrine in the avian auditory cortex enhances developmental song learning.

Norepinephrine in the avian auditory cortex enhances developmental song learning.

Journal of neurophysiology (2021-05-13)
Yining Chen, Jon T Sakata
ABSTRACT

Sensory learning during critical periods in development has lasting effects on behavior. Neuromodulators like dopamine and norepinephrine (NE) have been implicated in various forms of sensory learning, but little is known about their contribution to sensory learning during critical periods. Songbirds like the zebra finch communicate with each other using vocal signals (e.g., songs) that are learned during a critical period in development, and the first crucial step in song learning is memorizing the sound of an adult conspecific's (tutor's) song. Here, we analyzed the extent to which NE modulates the auditory learning of a tutor's song and the fidelity of song imitation. Specifically, we paired infusions of NE or vehicle into the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM) with brief epochs of song tutoring. We analyzed the effect of NE in juvenile zebra finches that had or had not previously been exposed to song. Regardless of previous exposure to song, juveniles that received NE infusions into NCM during song tutoring produced songs that were more acoustically similar to the tutor song and that incorporated more elements of the tutor song than juveniles with control infusions. These data support the notion that NE can regulate the formation of sensory memories that shape the development of vocal behaviors that are used throughout an organism's life.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Although norepinephrine (NE) has been implicated in various forms of sensory learning, little is known about its contribution to sensory learning during critical periods in development. We reveal that pairing infusions of NE into the avian secondary auditory cortex with brief epochs of song tutoring significantly enhances auditory learning during the critical period for vocal learning. These data highlight the lasting impact of NE on sensory systems, cognition, and behavior.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
DL-Norepinephrine hydrochloride, crystalline, ≥97% (TLC)