Author(s)Perry, William Matthew
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AbstractThe zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) has long been used as an animal model for memory and cognition due to the naturally occurring process through which they acquire and produce song This process, in which song is learned from tutor finches in their environment, is thought to be highly analogous to human speech development. The areas of the zebra finch brain involved in song acquisition and production are known as song nuclei, some of which are known to contain nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). Some of these receptor subtypes have been shown to play important roles in memory. I explored the roles that nAChRs may play in the production of song by adult male zebra finches through behavioral long-term experiments, which monitor song production before and after in vivo nicotine administration. I found that both Inter-Syllable Duration (ISD) and Wiener Entropy (WE) were significantly altered two months after the cessation of nicotine, suggesting a possible role of nAChRs in the timing mechanisms of song. Re-exposure to nicotine further alleviated the previous observed changes in ISD and WE, which could point towards an alteration in nicotinic circuits, possibly through a change in synaptic functioning.