Distribution of tyrosine hydroxylase-containing neurons and fibers in the brain of the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus): General patterns and labeling in vocal control nuclei

Todd F. Roberts, Kelly K. Cookson, Kristin J. Heaton, William S. Hall, Steven E. Brauth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

The distribution of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) was mapped out in cells and fibers of the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) brain. Special attention was given to vocal control and auditory nuclei because budgerigars are a psittacine species in which both males and females are capable of lifelong vocal learning (Farabaugh et al. [1994] J. Comp. Psychol 108:81-92). The results show that TH staining in the central nucleus of the anterior archistriatum (AAc) resembled that of surrounding archistriatal fields, except for portions of the ventral archistriatum, which exhibited substantially more TH+ fibers. Fewer fibers and fiber baskets are present in the central nucleus of the lateral neostriatum (NLc) than in surrounding fields. Both the oval nuclei of the ventral hyperstriatum (HVo) and anterior neostriatum (NAo) exhibit less fiber staining than surrounding fields whereas fiber staining in the medial NAo (NAom) and magnicellular nucleus of the parolfactory lobe (LPOm) resemble that of surrounding fields. Staining in primary telencephalic auditory nuclei was extremely low. The only sex difference observed was slightly increased TH staining in LPOm of females compared with surrounding fields on some tissue sections. These findings are in contrast to previous findings in zebra finch (Poephila guttata), a close ended vocal learning songbird in which TH staining in vocal nuclei increases during development and remains greater than surrounding fields throughout adulthood. The present results therefore support the view that catecholamines act to inhibit vocal plasticity in adult vocal learning species. Several unique features of TH-immunoreactive (ir) cell groups were observed in the brainstem including sparsely scattered TH-ir somata immediately adjacent to the third ventricle, within the tectum, basal forebrain, archistriatum, and caudal neostriatum, and in the hippocampus. These latter populations have not been described in other avian species and resemble features of the catecholamine system generally found in either reptiles or mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-454
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume429
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2001

Keywords

  • Catecholamines
  • Evolution
  • Parrot
  • Telencephalic catecholamine cells
  • Vocal learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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