Accelerated redevelopment of vocal skills is preceded by lasting reorganization of the song motor circuitry

Michiel Vellema*, Mariana Diales Rocha, Sabrina Bascones, Sándor Zsebők, Jes Dreier, Stefan Leitner, Annemie Van der Linden, Jonathan Brewer, Manfred Gahr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Complex motor skills take considerable time and practice to learn. Without continued practice the level of skill performance quickly degrades, posing a problem for the timely utilization of skilled motor behaviors. Here we quantified the recurring development of vocal motor skills and the accompanying changes in synaptic connectivity in the brain of a songbird, while manipulating skill performance by consecutively administrating and withdrawing testosterone. We demonstrate that a songbird with prior singing experience can significantly accelerate the re-acquisition of vocal performance. We further demonstrate that an increase in vocal performance is accompanied by a pronounced synaptic pruning in the forebrain vocal motor area HVC, a reduction that is not reversed when birds stop singing. These results provide evidence that lasting synaptic changes in the motor circuitry are associated with the savings of motor skills, enabling a rapid recovery of motor performance under environmental time constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere43194
JournaleLife
Volume8
Number of pages26
ISSN2050-084X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17. May 2019

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Motor Skills
Music
Motor Cortex
Birds
Testosterone
Brain
Recovery

Keywords

  • birdsong
  • brain development
  • canary
  • dendritic spines
  • neuroscience
  • savings
  • skill re-acquisition

Cite this

Vellema, M., Diales Rocha, M., Bascones, S., Zsebők, S., Dreier, J., Leitner, S., ... Gahr, M. (2019). Accelerated redevelopment of vocal skills is preceded by lasting reorganization of the song motor circuitry. eLife, 8, [e43194]. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.43194
Vellema, Michiel ; Diales Rocha, Mariana ; Bascones, Sabrina ; Zsebők, Sándor ; Dreier, Jes ; Leitner, Stefan ; Van der Linden, Annemie ; Brewer, Jonathan ; Gahr, Manfred. / Accelerated redevelopment of vocal skills is preceded by lasting reorganization of the song motor circuitry. In: eLife. 2019 ; Vol. 8.
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abstract = "Complex motor skills take considerable time and practice to learn. Without continued practice the level of skill performance quickly degrades, posing a problem for the timely utilization of skilled motor behaviors. Here we quantified the recurring development of vocal motor skills and the accompanying changes in synaptic connectivity in the brain of a songbird, while manipulating skill performance by consecutively administrating and withdrawing testosterone. We demonstrate that a songbird with prior singing experience can significantly accelerate the re-acquisition of vocal performance. We further demonstrate that an increase in vocal performance is accompanied by a pronounced synaptic pruning in the forebrain vocal motor area HVC, a reduction that is not reversed when birds stop singing. These results provide evidence that lasting synaptic changes in the motor circuitry are associated with the savings of motor skills, enabling a rapid recovery of motor performance under environmental time constraints.",
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Vellema, M, Diales Rocha, M, Bascones, S, Zsebők, S, Dreier, J, Leitner, S, Van der Linden, A, Brewer, J & Gahr, M 2019, 'Accelerated redevelopment of vocal skills is preceded by lasting reorganization of the song motor circuitry', eLife, vol. 8, e43194. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.43194

Accelerated redevelopment of vocal skills is preceded by lasting reorganization of the song motor circuitry. / Vellema, Michiel; Diales Rocha, Mariana; Bascones, Sabrina; Zsebők, Sándor; Dreier, Jes; Leitner, Stefan; Van der Linden, Annemie; Brewer, Jonathan; Gahr, Manfred.

In: eLife, Vol. 8, e43194, 17.05.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Diales Rocha, Mariana

AU - Bascones, Sabrina

AU - Zsebők, Sándor

AU - Dreier, Jes

AU - Leitner, Stefan

AU - Van der Linden, Annemie

AU - Brewer, Jonathan

AU - Gahr, Manfred

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AB - Complex motor skills take considerable time and practice to learn. Without continued practice the level of skill performance quickly degrades, posing a problem for the timely utilization of skilled motor behaviors. Here we quantified the recurring development of vocal motor skills and the accompanying changes in synaptic connectivity in the brain of a songbird, while manipulating skill performance by consecutively administrating and withdrawing testosterone. We demonstrate that a songbird with prior singing experience can significantly accelerate the re-acquisition of vocal performance. We further demonstrate that an increase in vocal performance is accompanied by a pronounced synaptic pruning in the forebrain vocal motor area HVC, a reduction that is not reversed when birds stop singing. These results provide evidence that lasting synaptic changes in the motor circuitry are associated with the savings of motor skills, enabling a rapid recovery of motor performance under environmental time constraints.

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Vellema M, Diales Rocha M, Bascones S, Zsebők S, Dreier J, Leitner S et al. Accelerated redevelopment of vocal skills is preceded by lasting reorganization of the song motor circuitry. eLife. 2019 May 17;8. e43194. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.43194