Axonal connections of the high vocal center and surrounding cortical regions in juvenile and adult male zebra finches.


Neuronal connections of the High Vocal Center (HVC), a cortical nucleus of songbirds necessary for learned vocal behavior, and the region adjacent to HVC called paraHVC (pHVC), were studied in adult and juvenile male zebra finches. Extremely small injections of fluorescent dextran amines or biocytin were made within subregions of HVC and pHVC to define the precise nature and development of these pathways. In adults, all HVC injections produced an even, nontopographic distribution of retrograde label throughout the medial magnocellular nucleus of the anterior neostriatum (mMAN), the interfacial nucleus (NIf), and the uvaeform nucleus of the thalamus (Uva) and an even distribution of anterograde label within area X of the striatum and the robust nucleus of the archistriatum (RA). These same patterns of projections were present in juvenile birds 20-23 days of age, including the projection from HVC to RA, which has previously been reported to develop only after 25-30 days of age. Results also establish a novel efferent projection from HVC to pHVC in both juvenile and adult birds. Injections into pHVC indicate that this region receives afferent input from song control areas HVC, mMAN, medial regions of the parvicellular shell of lateral MAN, NIf, and Uva and projects to Area X, caudomedial regions of striatum, and regions of the caudomedial neostriatum (NCM). Thus, neuronal connections of pHVC are highly integrated with circuitry important for vocal behavior and are distinct from those of HVC. Such differences establish HVC and pHVC as separate brain areas and suggest that each may serve a different function in vocal behavior. Control injections in both juveniles and adults produced specific patterns of projections from areas outside of HVC to areas outside of RA, illustrating an overall spatial organization of projections from HVC and neighboring cortical areas. Further, although neuronal connections of HVC are not topographic, projections of HVC, pHVC, and surrounding areas demonstrate a broad spatial organization of efferents to striatum and regions surrounding RA, thus defining a level of organization beyond that of individual song control nuclei.


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@article{Foster1998AxonalCO, title={Axonal connections of the high vocal center and surrounding cortical regions in juvenile and adult male zebra finches.}, author={E F Foster and Sarah W Bottjer}, journal={The Journal of comparative neurology}, year={1998}, volume={397 1}, pages={118-38} }