Afferent and efferent connections of the sexually dimorphic medial preoptic nucleus of the male quail revealed by in vitro transport of DiI

Cell Tissue Res. 1994 Jun;276(3):455-75. doi: 10.1007/BF00343944.


The medial preoptic nucleus of the Japanese quail is a testosterone-sensitive structure that is involved in the control of male copulatory behavior. The full understanding of the role played by this nucleus in the control of reproduction requires the identification of its afferent and efferent connections. In order to identify neural circuits involved in the control of the medial preoptic nucleus, we used the lipophilic fluorescent tracer DiI implanted in aldheyde-fixed tissue. Different strategies of brain dissection and different implantation sites were used to establish and confirm afferent and efferent connections of the nucleus. Anterograde projections reached the tuberal hypothalamus, the area ventralis of Tsai, and the substantia grisea centralis. Dense networks of fluorescent fibers were also seen in several hypothalamic nuclei, such as the anterior medialis hypothalami, the paraventricularis magnocellularis, and the ventromedialis hypothalami. A major projection in the dorsal direction was also observed from the medial preoptic nucleus toward the nucleus septalis lateralis and medialis. Afferents to the nucleus were seen from all these regions. Implantation of DiI into the substantia grisea centralis also revealed massive bidirectional connections with a large number of more caudal mesencephalic and pontine structures. The substantia grisea centralis therefore appears to be an important center connecting anterior levels of the brain to brain-stem nuclei that may be involved in the control of male copulatory behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Carbocyanines / pharmacokinetics
  • Coturnix / anatomy & histology*
  • Coturnix / metabolism
  • Coturnix / physiology
  • Efferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes / pharmacokinetics
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Preoptic Area / anatomy & histology*
  • Preoptic Area / metabolism
  • Preoptic Area / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology


  • Carbocyanines
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • 3,3'-dioctadecylindocarbocyanine