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Vocal courtship is vital to the reproductive success of many vertebrates and is therefore a highly-motivated behavioral state. Catecholamines have been shown to play an essential role in the expression and maintenance of motivated vocal behavior, such as the coordination of vocal-motor output in songbirds. However, it is not well-understood if this relationship applies to anamniote vocal species. Using the plainfin midshipman fish model, we tested whether specific catecholaminergic (i.e., dopaminergic and noradrenergic) nuclei and nodes of the social behavior network (SBN) are differentially activated in vocally courting (humming) versus non-humming males. Herein, we demonstrate that tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive (TH-ir) neuron number in the noradrenergic locus coeruleus (LC) and induction of cFos (an immediate early gene product and proxy for neural activation) in the preoptic area differentiated humming from non-humming males. Furthermore, we found relationships between activation of the LC and SBN nuclei with the total amount of time that males spent humming, further reinforcing a role for these specific brain regions in the production of motivated reproductive-related vocalizations. Finally, we found that patterns of functional connectivity between catecholaminergic nuclei and nodes of the SBN differed between humming and non-humming males, supporting the notion that adaptive behaviors (such as the expression of advertisement hums) emerge from the interactions between various catecholaminergic nuclei and the SBN. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Zachary N Ghahramani, Jonathan T Perelmuter, Joshua Varughese, Phoo Kyaw, William C Palmer, Joseph A Sisneros, Paul M Forlano. Activation of noradrenergic locus coeruleus and social behavior network nuclei varies with duration of male midshipman advertisement calls. Behavioural brain research. 2022 Apr 09;423:113745

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PMID: 35033611

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