Sex differences in the distribution of the steroid receptor coactivator SRC-1 in the song control nuclei of male and female canaries

Thierry D. Charlier, Jacques Balthazart, Gregory F. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The steroid receptor coactivator SRC-1 modulates ligand-dependent transactivation of several nuclear receptors, including the receptors for sex steroid hormones. The distribution of SRC-1 transcripts was analyzed here by in situ hybridization in coronal sections through the brain of male and female canaries. A broad but heterogeneous distribution of SRC-1 transcripts was observed with high numbers of densely labeled cells being present in many steroid-sensitive areas including the medial preoptic nucleus, several hypothalamic nuclei, five song control nuclei (HVc, the lateral and medial portion of the magnocellular nucleus of the anterior neostriatum, area X and the nucleus uvaeformis) and several catecholaminergic areas (area ventralis of Tsai, substantia nigra, locus coeruleus). The volume of two song control nuclei, HVc and area X were reconstructed based on the boundaries of the cell groups exhibiting a denser SRC-1 expression as compared to the surrounding areas. Sex differences in the expression of SRC-1 were also detected in several song control nuclei. In particular, the volume of HVc based on the high density of SRC-1 expression was significantly larger in males than in females. The effect of steroids on the song control system could be, at least in part, indirect and result from a modulation by steroids of the catecholaminergic inputs to the song control nuclei. The presence of the steroid receptor coactivator SRC-1 in the telencephalic song control nuclei and in the catecholaminergic cell groups that innervate the song system supports the idea that SRC-1 expression could play an active role in the control of singing behavior by modulating estrogen and androgen receptor action at both locations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-274
Number of pages12
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2003


  • Androgen receptor
  • Area X
  • Canary
  • Estrogen receptor
  • HVc
  • Serinus canaria
  • Sex difference
  • Songbird
  • Steroid receptor coactivator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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