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Abstract #2182

In vivo Diffusion tensor imaging to unravel the contribution of thyroid hormones in seasonal neuroplasticity in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)

Jasmien Orije1, Geert De Groof1, Elisabeth Jonckers1, Sander Raymaekers2, Marleen Verhoye1, Veerle Darras2, and Annemie Van der Linden1

1Bio-Imaging Lab, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium, 2Laboratory of Comparative Endocrinology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

The effect of thyroid hormones on seasonal neuroplasticity in adult songbirds was never investigated before. To study this we treated photorefractory starlings with methimazole, which resulted in a depletion of thyroid hormones plasma levels. Using repeated measures of in vivo DTI and song recordings, neuroplasticity and song behaviour were monitored over different photoperiods. We found indications that thyroid hormones can modulate the seasonal neuroplasticity both directly at the level of the song control system, as suggested by direct changes in song behaviour after methimazole-treatment, and indirectly via the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis, as methimazole-treatment inhibited the testosterone increase upon photostimulation.

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