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Brain Res. 2001 Nov 2;917(2):235-52.

Parvalbumin-positive projection neurons characterise the vocal premotor pathway in male, but not female, zebra finches.

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Division of Anatomy, School of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.


Parvalbumin (PV) and calbindin (CB) immunoreactivities were assessed in nucleus robustus archistriatalis (RA) of male and female zebra finches, together with retrograde labelling of RA neurons. The results of double and triple labelling experiments suggested that, in males, moderately and faintly PV-positive neurons were projection neurons, but that all intensely PV-positive cells were not. The latter, which are presumably interneurons, were also intensely CB-positive, and may correspond to the GABAergic inhibitory interneurons identified by others. In addition, the complete RA pathway and its terminal fields in the respiratory-vocal nuclei of the brainstem were strongly PV-positive. In female zebra finches, which do not sing, no evidence was found that PV-positive RA cells were projection neurons, yet the pattern of projections of RA neurons, as determined by anterograde transport of biotinylated dextran amine, was very similar to that of RA in males. Moreover, in females, RA neurons retrogradely labelled from injections of cholera toxin B-chain into the tracheosyringeal nucleus (XIIts) were abundant and included, in the lateral part of the nucleus, a population of cells that were as large as those in the male RA. Parvalbumin immunoreactivity was also present in RA and its projections in males of several other songbird species (northern cardinal, brown headed cowbird, canary) and in the female cardinal, which sings to some extent, but the labelling was not as intense as that in male zebra finches.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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