Skip to main content

Perineuronal nets in HVC and plasticity in male canary song

Cite this dataset

Balthazart, Jacques (2021). Perineuronal nets in HVC and plasticity in male canary song [Dataset]. Dryad.


Songbirds learn their vocalizations during developmental sensitive periods of song memorization and sensorimotor learning. Some seasonal songbirds, called open-ended learners, recapitulate transitions from sensorimotor learning and song crystallization on a seasonal basis during adulthood. In adult male canaries, sensorimotor learning occurs each year in autumn and leads to modifications of the syllable repertoire during successive breeding seasons. We previously showed that perineuronal nets (PNN) expression in song control nuclei decreases during this sensorimotor learning period. Here we explored the causal link between PNN expression in adult canaries and song modification by enzymatically degrading PNN in HVC, a key song control system nucleus. Three independent experiments identified limited effects of the PNN degradation in HVC on the song structure of male canaries. They clearly establish that presence of PNN in HVC is not required to maintain general features of crystallized song. Some suggestion was collected that PNN are implicated in the stability of song repertoires but this evidence is too preliminary to draw firm conclusions and additional investigations should consider producing PNN degradations at specified time points of the seasonal cycle. It also remains possible that once song has been crystallized at the beginning of the first breeding season, PNN no longer play a key role in determining song structure; this could be tested by treatments with chondroitinase ABC at key steps in ontogeny. It would in this context be important to develop multiple stereotaxic procedures allowing the simultaneous bilateral degradation of PNN in several song control nuclei for extended periods.


Songs were recorded in sound proof boxes and analyzed with a specially designed matlab routine.

Brain were processed by standard histological techniques and stained for parvalbumin and perineuronall nets.

All data were analyzed with the Graphpad Prism software version 8.2.1 and all files containing the raw data that were analyzed in this way are provided.

Usage notes

ALL data are provided and can be re-analyzed with the Graphpad Prism software version 8.2.1 or more recent


National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Award: RO1NS104008

University of Liege, Award: FSR-S-SS-17/26

Fund for Scientific Research, Award: Senior Research Associate position to Charlotte Cornil

Fund for Scientific Research, Award: Research Fellow position to Gilles Cornez

University of Liege, Award: FSR-S-SS-17/26