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Development of the songbird brain provides an excellent experimental model for understanding the regulation of sex differences in ontogeny. Considering the regulatory role of the hypothalamus in endocrine, in particular reproductive, physiology, we measured the structural (volume) and molecular correlates of hypothalamic development during ontogeny of male and female zebra finches. We quantified by relative quantitative polymerase chain reaction (rqPCR) the expression of 14 genes related to thyroid and steroid hormones actions as well as 12 genes related to brain plasticity at four specific time points during ontogeny and compared these expression patterns with the expression of the same genes as detected by transcriptomics in the telencephalon. These two different methodological approaches detected specific changes with age and demonstrated that in a substantial number of cases changes observed in both brain regions are nearly identical. Other genes however had a tissue-specific developmental pattern. Sex differences or interactions of sex by age were detected in the expression of a subset of genes, more in hypothalamus than telencephalon. These results correlate with multiple known aspects of the developmental and reproductive physiology but also raise a number of new functional questions.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
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A period in the human life in which the development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal system takes place and reaches full maturity. The onset of synchronized endocrine events in puberty lead to the capacity for reproduction (FERTILITY), development of secondary SEX CHARACTERISTICS, and other changes seen in ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT.
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The part of the hypothalamus posterior to the middle region consisting of several nuclei including the medial mamillary nucleus, lateral mamillary nucleus, and posterior hypothalamic nucleus (posterior hypothalamic area). The posterior hypothalamic area is concerned with control of sympathetic responses and is sensitive to conditions of decreasing temperature and controls the mechanisms for the conservation and increased production of heat.
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