Identification of catecholaminergic inputs to and outputs from aromatase-containing brain areas of the Japanese quail by tract tracing combined with tyrosine hydroxylase immunocytochemistry

J Comp Neurol. 1997 Jun 9;382(3):401-28.


In the quail brain, aromatase-immunoreactive (ARO-ir) neurons located in the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) and caudal paleostriatum ventrale/nucleus accumbens/nucleus striae terminalis complex (PVT/nAc/nST) receive catecholaminergic inputs identified by the presence of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir) fibers and punctate structures. The origin of these inputs was analyzed by retrograde tracing with cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) or red latex fluospheres (RLF) combined with TH immunocytochemistry. CTB and RLF injected in the POM or PVT/nAc/nST were found in cells located in anatomically discrete areas in the telencephalon (hippocampus, septum, archistriatum), hypothalamus (many areas in periventricular position), thalamus, mesencephalon, and pons. In these last two regions, many retrogradely labeled cells were located in dopaminergic areas such as the retroruberal field (RRF), substantia nigra (SN), and area ventralis of Tsai (AVT) but also in noradrenergic cell groups such as the locus ceruleus and subceruleus. CTB tracing showed that most of these connections are bidirectional. Many retrogradely labeled cells contained TH-ir material. As a mean, 10-20% and 40-60% of the RLF-containing cells in the dopaminergic areas were TH-ir when RLF had been injected in the POM or PVT/nAc/nST, respectively. TH-ir cells projecting to the POM appeared to be mostly located in the periventricular hypothalamus and in AVT, whereas projections to the PVT/nAc/nST originated mainly in the SN (with significant contributions from the RRF and AVT). These data support the existence of functional relationships between aromatase and catecholamines.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aromatase / analysis*
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Catecholamines / analysis*
  • Cholera Toxin
  • Coturnix / metabolism*
  • Globus Pallidus / chemistry
  • Hypothalamus / chemistry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microinjections
  • Microspheres
  • Nucleus Accumbens / chemistry
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / analysis*


  • Catecholamines
  • Cholera Toxin
  • Aromatase
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase