Development of metabolic response in male quail brain during sexual maturation

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Seasonal reproductive activities of Japanese quailCoturnix japonica are induced most obviously by stimulatory effects of long-day photoperiod. This study addressed the metabolic response, as measured by 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG), in brain of male quail during sexual maturation. At 7 weeks of age, reproductively quiescent quail exposed to a short photoperiod of 6L:18D, received 2-DG on day 0 and +3, +6, +9, +12, +15 and +18 days after onset of 16L:8D. Brains were processed for autoradiography; serum testosterone was measured to indicate reproductive response to photoperiod. Circulating testosterone remained low until day 9, then rose sharply, reaching maximum levels at day 18. Heavily labeled nuclei were identified in some discrete neural pathways: both tectofugal and thalamofugal visual pathways, ascending auditory pathway, efferent vocalization pathway, and limbic structures. Metabolic activity of the terminal nucleus (ectostriatum) of the tectofugal pathway increased significantly by day 18, but in the terminal nuclei (the Wulst) of the thalamofugal visual pathway activity did not change significantly. Energy metabolism of some nuclei of the auditory pathway rose significantly by day 3, although in the vocal pathway it did not show augmentation until days 15-18. The metabolic activity of limbic structures also increased. These results suggest that, in Japanese quail, sensory nuclei and some of their integrative areas become sensitive to environmental cues in response to long-day photoperiod. It is possible that the external environmental cues that affect the reproductive activities of quail act through sensory systems. © 1995 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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Brain Research

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