Hormonal Specificity and Activation of Social Behaviour in the Male Zebra Finch

  • C. F. Harding
Part of the Proceedings in Life Sciences book series (LIFE SCIENCES)


It is now well established that the actions of testosterone (T) in both the brain and peripheral tissues are mediated by its conversion to active metabolites in the various target tissues. T is metabolized to a variety of 5a- and 513-reduced andr4ogens in avian peripheral tissues (Raith et al. 1977, Massa et al. 1980), and to these hormones and various oestrogens in the brain (Canard et al. 1978, Davies et al. 1980, Massa et al. 1977, Nakamura and Tanabe 1974). A question of primary importance is which of the many metabolites are active, causing changes in the target tissues, and which are merely steps in the degradation and excretion of T? In birds, as in mammals, 5a-reduced androgens, particularly 5a-dihydrotestosterone (5a-DHT), appear to be the active metabolites of T in peripheral target tissues including the cloacal or proctodeal gland of Japanese quail (Adkins et al. 1981, Massa et al. 1980), the comb of chickens (Balthazart and Hirschberg 1979), and the syrinx of songbirds (Lieberburg and Nottebohm 1979).


Hormone Treatment Zebra Finch Japanese Quail Courtship Behaviour Hormonal Specificity 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. F. Harding
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Biopsychology ProgramHunter CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of OrnithologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA

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