Journal of Comparative Neurology vol:346 issue:1 pages:97-118
A light microscopic immunocytochemical study, with antisera against dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) and dopamine (DA), revealed the dopaergic and dopaminergic systems in the brain of the chicken (Gallus domesticus). L-DOPA- and DA-immunoreactive (ir) elements are similarly distributed throughout the entire brain. Virtually all regions of the brain contained a dense innervation by L-DOPA- and DA-immunopositive varicose fibers. The neuronal cell bodies immunoreactive for the two monoamines were confined to more restricted regions, the hypothalamus, the midbrain and the brainstem. In the hypothalamus, DA- and L-DOPA-ir neurons were subdivided into a medial periventricular and a lateral group. The medial group starts at the level of the anterior commissure, in the ventral part of the nucleus periventrieularis hypothalami, and continues in a more dorsal periventricular position caudally into the dorsal tuberal hypothalamic region. Densely labeled cerebrospinal fluid contacting cells can be observed in the paraventricular organ. The lateral group consists of immunopositive neurons loosely arranged in the lateral hypothalamic area and in the nucleus mamillaris lateralis. Most of the dopaminergic cell groups, identified in the hypothalamus of mammals, could be observed in the chicken, with the exception of the tuberoinfundibular group. The majority of L-DOPA- and DA-ir perikarya is, however, situated in the mesencephalic tegmentum, in the area ventralis of Tsai and in the nucleus tegmenti pedunculo-pontinus, pars compacta, the avian homologues of, respectively, the ventral tegmental area and the substantia nigra of mammals. In the pens, dense groups of cells are found in the locus coeruleus and in the nucleus subcoeruleus ventralis and dorsalis. A few labeled cells appear in and around the nucleus olivaris superior in the most caudal part of the metencephalic tegmentum. In the medulla oblongata, L-DOPA- and DA-ir cells can be seen at the level of the nucleus of the solitary tract and in a ventrolateral complex. A comparison with tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunocytochemistry revealed TH-immunopositive neurons greatly outnumbering the cells exhibiting DA and L-DOPA immunoreactivity. These results are discussed in relation to catecholaminergic systems previously reported in avian species and in the mammalian brain. (C) 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.