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You are here: Home / Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References / Identification of catecholaminergic cell groups in the brainstem of the canary, zebra finch, white-throated sparrow and budgerigar by tyrosine hydroxylase immunocytochemistry

J Balthazart and GF Ball (1996)

Identification of catecholaminergic cell groups in the brainstem of the canary, zebra finch, white-throated sparrow and budgerigar by tyrosine hydroxylase immunocytochemistry

BELGIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, 126(1):65-78.

In Passeriformes and Psittaciformes, the learning and production of complex learned vocalizations is controlled by a network of telencephalic, diencephalic and mesencephalic nuclei, the so-called song-control system. Specialized telencephalic song control nuclei such as the high vocal center, nucleus robustus archistriatalis and area X in the basal ganglia receive dense and discrete catecholaminergic inputs. Catecholaminergic fibers also innervate the telencephalon of other birds and other vertebrate species but there appear to be unique specializations of the catecholaminergic inputs in songbirds. In this paper the distribution of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive cell groups in the brainstem is described in 4 avian species that are known to be vocal learners. The goal of this work is to identify whether novel cell groups are present in the brainstem that may give rise to the specialized catecholaminergic projections in the telencephalon of these vocal learners. These brainstem cell groups are known to be the source of most telencephalic catecholaminergic input in birds and other vertebrates. Three songbird species, the zebra finch, the canary and the white-throated sparrow and one psittaciform, the budgerigar were analyzed. Immunocytochemical analysis identified in the brainstem of the 4 species the same groups of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive cells that were previously described in the brain of other non-song birds. These were located in the area ventralis of Tsai (A10), around the substantia nigra (A9) and its caudal extension (retroruberal field, A8), and in the nucleus ceruleus and subceruleus (A6). No additional cell group could be detected in these species by comparison with the other species of non oscines studied previously. This suggests that both in song birds and in budgerigars specialized innervations by catecholaminergic neurones of the telencephalic song control nuclei are not associated with the evolution of novel catecholaminergic cell groups in the brainstem as compared to those that are present in species that do not display these specializations.

song system; song control nuclei; song birds; oscines; chemical neuroanatomy; dopamine; noradrenaline
BJZ

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Editor-in-Chief:
Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium

 



1863-1903
Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
 
1903-1923
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
 
1923-1989
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
 
1989-
Belgian Journal of Zoology