Fos expression in monoaminergic cell groups in response to sociosexual interactions in male and female Japanese quail

Behav Neurosci. 2014 Feb;128(1):48-60. doi: 10.1037/a0035427.


Monoaminergic neurotransmitters regulate different components of sexual behaviors, but how the different monoaminergic cell groups selectively regulate these behaviors is not well understood. We examined the potential contribution of these different cell groups in the control of different aspects of sexual behaviors in male and female quail. We used double-label immunohistochemistry, labeling the protein product of the immediate early gene, Fos, along with tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) or tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH), markers for catecholaminergic or indolaminergic cells, respectively. Rhythmic Cloacal Sphincter Movements (RCSM) were recorded as a measure of male appetitive sexual behavior. Consummatory sexual behaviors were evaluated based on the species-typical copulation sequence. Enhanced Fos expression in the medial preoptic nucleus and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis was observed in association with both physical and visual contact to the opposite sex for males, but not for females. Fos induction associated with physical contact was observed in the ventral tegmental area and anterior periaqueductal gray in both sexes. In males only, the number of Fos-immunoreactive (ir) cells increased in the visual contact condition in these 2 dopaminergic cell groups, however no significant effect was observed for double-labeled TH-Fos-ir cells. In addition, consummatory but not appetitive sexual behavior increased Fos expression in TPH-ir cells in the raphe pallidus of males. This increase following physical but not visual contact agrees with the notion that activation of the serotoninergic system is implicated in the development of sexual satiation but not activated by simply viewing a female, in contrast to the dopaminergic system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Neurons / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Appetitive Behavior / physiology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Consummatory Behavior / physiology
  • Coturnix
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism*
  • Serotonergic Neurons / metabolism
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase / metabolism
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase