Neuroanatomical specificity in the expression of the immediate early gene c-fos following expression of appetitive and consummatory male sexual behaviour in Japanese quail

Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Apr;23(7):1869-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2006.04719.x.


We investigated the neural sites related to the occurrence of appetitive (ASB) and consummatory (CSB) aspects of male sexual behaviour in Japanese quail. Castrated males treated with testosterone were exposed for 5 min to one of four experimental conditions: (i) free interaction with a female (CSB group); (ii) expression of rhythmic cloacal sphincter movements in response to the visual presentation of a female (ASB-F group); (iii) or a male (ASB-M group), and (iv) handling as a control manipulation. Brains were collected 90 min after the start of behavioural tests and stained by immunocytochemistry for the FOS protein. An increase in FOS expression was observed throughout the rostro-caudal extent of the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) in CSB males, whereas the view of a female (ASB-F) induced an increased FOS expression in the rostral POM only. In the CSB group, there was also an increase in FOS expression in the bed nucleus striae terminalis, and both the CSB and ASB-F groups exhibited increased FOS expression in aspects of the ventro-lateral thalamus (VLT) related to visual processing. Moreover, both the CSB and ASB-M groups showed increased FOS expression in the lateral septum. These data provide additional support to the idea that there is a partial anatomical dissociation between structures involved in the control of both aspects of male sexual behaviour and independently provide data consistent with a previous lesion study that indicated that the rostral and caudal POM differentially control the expression of ASB and CSB in quail.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetitive Behavior*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cloaca / physiology
  • Consummatory Behavior*
  • Coturnix
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Periodicity
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / biosynthesis*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos