Major progress has been made in the understanding of the neuroanatomical, neuroendocrine and neurochemical bases of reproductive behaviour and of its sexual dimorphism in birds.
Testerone metabolising enzymes in the brain have been analysed, with special reference to aromatase. The role of the preoptic region in the control of behaviour has been investigated. Other topics investigated include sexual differentiation of reproductive behaviour during ontogeny, analysis of the monoaminergic transmission and its relation with steroids, and neuropeptides and other neurochemical markers related to reproduction.
In this study, it is proposed to examine the mechanisms by which testosterone (T) activates male copulatory behaviour by acting on brain cells within the rostral hypothalamus. The sex difference in responsiveness to T (the hormone activates behaviour in males but not females) will be used as a guide into the brain mechanisms in order to identify more easily those which are implicated in the
behaviour control from those which are not despite their similar neuroanatomical localization. During this project, nine different aspects of the brain anatomy morphology and biochemistry will be studied namely : the neuroanatomy of the hypothalamus,
the distribution of vasotocinergic cells and fibers, the distribution of monoamines, different morphometrical aspects of the preoptic area, the ultrastructural changes induced by specific neurotoxins, the concentration and turnover of monoamines, the metabolism of testosterone, the role of the preoptic area in the control of reproductive behaviour and the interactions between steroids and monoamines.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts