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Interaction between telencephalic signals and respiratory dynamics in songbirds.
The mechanisms by which telencephalic areas affect motor activities are largely unknown. They could either take over motor control from downstream motor circuits or interact with the intrinsic dynamics of these circuits. Both models have been proposed for telencephalic control of respiration during learned vocal behavior in birds. The interactive model postulates that simple signals from the telencephalic song control areas are sufficient to drive the nonlinear respiratory network into producing complex temporal sequences. We tested this basic assumption by electrically stimulating telencephalic song control areas and analyzing the resulting respiratory patterns in zebra finches and in canaries. We found strong evidence for interaction between the rhythm of stimulation and the intrinsic respiratory rhythm, including naturally emerging subharmonic behavior and integration of lateralized telencephalic input. The evidence for clear interaction in our experimental paradigm suggests that telencephalic vocal control also uses a similar mechanism. Furthermore, species differences in the response of the respiratory system to stimulation show parallels to differences in the respiratory patterns of song, suggesting that the interactive production of respiratory rhythms is manifested in species-specific specialization of the involved circuitry.
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural