Corticosterone is correlated to mediators of neural plasticity and epigenetic potential in the hippocampus of Senegalese house sparrows (Passer domesticus).

Abstract:

:Our previous research on range-expanding house sparrows in Kenya revealed that (i) range-edge birds released more corticosterone (CORT) in response to a stressor than range-core birds, ii) that range-edge birds were more exploratory than range-core birds, and that (iii) all birds exhibited extensive variation in genome-wide DNA methylation among individuals, regardless of their position along the range expansion. Within the hippocampus, mediators of neural plasticity such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), can influence and be influenced by CORT, hippocampus-associated behaviors and regulatory epigenetic modification enzymes. Here, we investigated whether individuals and populations colonizing a new geographic range, Senegal, vary in the expression of BDNF and DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) within the hippocampus and the release of CORT in response to a stressor. DNMT expression is an important mediator of epigenetic potential, the propensity of a genome to capacitate phenotypic variation via mechanisms such as DNA methylation. We surveyed three populations across Senegal, predicting that hippocampal BDNF and DNMT expression would be highest at the range-edge, and that BDNF and DNMT would be inversely related to one another, but would each positively covary with CORT within individuals. We found a nonlinear relationship between CORT and BDNF expression within individuals. Moreover, we found that CORT positively covaried with DNMT1 expression in a more recently established population, while the reverse was true in the oldest population (i.e. at the range-core). Our study is among the first to explore whether and how variation in CORT regulation contributes to variation in mediators of neural plasticity and epigenetic potential within the hippocampus of a range-expanding vertebrate.

journal_name

Gen Comp Endocrinol

authors

Kilvitis HJ,Ardia DR,Thiam M,Martin LB

doi

10.1016/j.ygcen.2018.09.014

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2018-12-01 00:00:00

pages

177-183

eissn

0016-6480

issn

1095-6840

pii

S0016-6480(18)30154-0

journal_volume

269

pub_type

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