Photoperiod affects the morphology of a sexually dimorphic nucleus within the preoptic area of male Japanese quail

Brain Res. 1994 Dec 26;667(2):201-8. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(94)91497-4.


Changes in the gross and cellular morphology of the nucleus preopticus medianus (POMn) were measured in response to changes in photoperiod in adult male Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). POMn volume and the soma size of a dorsolateral population of neurons within POMn decreased when birds were moved from long day housing conditions (16L,8D) to short day housing conditions (8L,16D), and then increased again when birds were moved back to long day conditions, presumably as a function of the changes in circulating testosterone that accompanied changing daylengths. Male Japanese quail exhibit sexual behavior only when housed under long day housing conditions that approximate the photoperiod of the spring/summer breeding season, and do not exhibit sexual behavior when housed under short day conditions characteristic of fall/winter. Because POMn is known to be critically involved in the expression of male copulatory behavior, these morphological changes in the adult brain likely represent key functional events associated with the seasonal regulation of sexual behavior in male Japanese quail.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coturnix / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Photoperiod*
  • Preoptic Area / anatomy & histology*
  • Preoptic Area / physiology
  • Seasons
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Testis / physiology
  • Testosterone / physiology*


  • Testosterone