Changes in central steroid receptor expression, steroid synthesis, and dopaminergic activity related to the reproductive cycle of the ring dove

Robert W. Lea, Judith A. Clark, Kazuyoshi Tsutsui

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46 Citations (Scopus)


This review examines possible neural mechanisms involved in the expression of parental behavior in the ring dove, Streptopelia risoria. This avian species has proved an excellent animal model for studies concerning endocrine-behavior interactions for many years. Studies were performed to localize the expression of central androgen and progesterone receptor in both sexes. Expression of androgen receptor (androgen receptor immunoreactivity, AR-ir) was widespread but increased, similarly in both sexes, with increasing day-length. Progesterone receptor-immunoreactivity (PR-ir) was more localized in several discrete areas of the hypothalamus. Similarly, no sex differences were observed in PR-ir, and expression increased in birds maintained on long days. AR-ir demonstrated dramatic changes over the breeding cycle, being greatest in courting birds and almost undetectable in parenting birds of both sexes brooding their young. PR-ir showed a differential expression over the breeding cycle relative to its hypothalamic localization. PR-ir decreased in the tuberal hypothalamic area in brooding birds of both sexes; whereas in the preoptic area, PR-ir was maintained. Significant increases in dopaminergic activity during the parenting phase of the breeding cycle occurred in specific neural regions including the PVM and DMA. Studies demonstrated the ability of the diencephalon of both sexes of the ring dove brain to synthesize progesterone, with indications that in the male brooding dove, synthesis is increased. Finally, a model is presented that proposes a mechanism whereby these central systems may interact to result in the expression of full parental behavior in both sexes of the ring dove.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-26
Number of pages15
JournalMicroscopy Research and Technique
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Anatomy
  • Instrumentation

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