Area-specific migration and recruitment of new neurons in the adult songbird brain
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
The journal of comparative neurology. - Philadelphia, Pa
, p. 1442-1459
University of Antwerp
Neuron recruitment has been implicated in morphological and functional plasticity in the adult brain. Whereas mammals restrict neuron recruitment specifically to two regions of known plasticity, the hippocampus and olfactory bulb, newborn neurons are found throughout the forebrain of adult songbirds. In order to study the area-specificity of the widespread proliferation and recruitment in the songbird brain, six adult male canaries received repetitive intraperitoneal injections of the mitotic marker BrdU (5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine) and were sacrificed after 24 hours to study proliferation or after 38 days to study recruitment. Migration and incorporation of new neurons was apparent throughout many but not all parts of the canary forebrain and was quantitatively related to mitotic levels in the most closely associated proliferative zones. Surprisingly, some areas of the vocal control system sensitive to plastic changes, such as nucleus higher vocal center (HVC) and area X, recruited similar numbers of new neurons as their surrounding brain tissues, employing no specific directional mechanisms. The distribution pattern in and around HVC could best be described by a random displacement model, where cells originating from the overlying lateral ventricle can move independently in any direction. Other plastic song control areas, such as the medial magnocellular nucleus of anterior nidopallium and the robust nucleus of arcopallium, were specifically avoided by migrating neurons, while migration toward the olfactory bulb showed high specificity, similar to the mammalian rostral migratory stream. Thus, different mechanisms appear to organize area-specific neuron recruitment in different recipients of the adult songbird brain, unrelated to global plasticity of brain regions.