Journal of Comparative Neurology vol:423 issue:1 pages:66-82
To map in detail the brain areas in which pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) may play a significant role in birds, the distribution of PACAP and PACAP type I receptor (PAC(1)-R) mRNA was examined throughout the entire chicken brain by using in situ hybridization histochemistry. Widespread distribution of both PACAP and its receptor mRNA was found. The telencephalic areas where the most intense signals for PACAP mRNA were found included the hyperstriatum accessorium, the hippocampus, and the archistriatum. In the diencephalon, a group of neurons that highly expressed PACAP mRNA was observed from the anterior medial hypothalamic nucleus to the inferior hypothalamic nucleus. Moderate expression was found in the paraventricular nucleus and the preoptic region. A second large group of neurons containing PACAP message was found within the nucleus dorsolateralis anterior thalami and extended caudally to the area around the nucleus ovoidalis and the nucleus paramedianus internus thalami. Furthermore, expression of PACAP message was observed within the bed nucleus of the pallial commissure, nucleus spiriformis medialis, optic tectum, cerebellar cortex, olfactory bulbs, and several nuclei within the brainstem (dorsal vagal and parabrachial complex, reticular formation). The highest expression of PAC(1)-R mRNA was found in the dorsal telencephalon, olfactory bulbs, lateral septum, optic tectum, cerebellum, and throughout the hypothalamus and thalamus. The presence of PACAP and PAC(1)-R mRNA in a variety of brain areas in birds suggests that PACAP mediates several physiologically important processes in addition to regulating the activity of the pituitary gland.