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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Paradoxical hypermasculinization of the zebra finch song system by an antiestrogen.

Exogenous estrogens, when administered to hatchling female zebra finches, masculinize the morphology and function of their neural vocal control system. The first of two experiments evaluated whether tamoxifen citrate is an antiestrogen in zebra finches, and the second determined whether it would block the masculinization hypothesized to be caused in hatchling males by the males' endogenous estradiol. In the first experiment adult female zebra finches were ovariectomized and injected for 10 days with estradiol benzoate (EB), tamoxifen, EB and tamoxifen combined, or vehicle (control). The dependent variable was oviduct weight. The EB-stimulated growth of the oviduct was blocked by tamoxifen, which had no effects when administered alone. Thus, tamoxifen acts as an antiestrogen in the zebra finch oviduct. In Experiment 2, male and female zebra finches were treated with tamoxifen or vehicle for the first 20 days after hatching. The males were castrated at 20 days. At 60 days we compared the song control regions of experimental and control males and females. In both sexes tamoxifen increased the somatic areas of neurons in RA (robust nucleus of the archistriatum), HVc (caudal nucleus of the ventral hyperstriatum), and MAN (magnocellular nucleus of the anterior neostriatum). Tamoxifen also increased the volumes of HVc, RA, MAN, and Area X in males. Thus, tamoxifen failed to block masculinization of males, but masculinized females and hypermasculinized males. Tamoxifen's hypermasculinization of the male and masculinization of the female song system is paradoxical given that (1) estradiol does not have similar effects on the male song system, and (2) tamoxifen antagonizes the effects of EB in the oviduct.[1]


  1. Paradoxical hypermasculinization of the zebra finch song system by an antiestrogen. Mathews, G.A., Brenowitz, E.A., Arnold, A.P. Hormones and behavior. (1988) [Pubmed]
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