Immunohistochemical analysis of the visual wulst of the pigeon (Columba livia)

Document Type


Publication Date



striate cortex, chemoarchitecture, birds

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



The avian wulst, a laminated “bulge” in the dorsal telencephalon, contains several distinct regions. The posterolateral portion (visual wulst) has been proposed to be an avian equivalent of the mammalian striate cortex. The present study examines specific neurotransmitters and neuropeptides within the visual wulst by immunohistochemical techniques. Antisera and monoclonal antibodies against choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), serotonin (5‐HT), glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), gammaaminobutyric acid A receptor (GABAAR), cholecystokinin (CCK), substance P (SP), leucine‐enkephalin (L‐ENK), neurotensin (NT), neuropeptide Y (NPY), somatostatin (SRIF), corticotropin‐releasing factor (CRF), and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) were used. Somata and neuropil displaying specific immunoreactivity were generally distributed in accordance with the laminar cytoarchitectonic organization of the wulst. The superficial layer of the wulst, the hyperstriatum accessorium, contained the highest densities of TH‐, 5‐HT‐, SP‐, NPY‐, SRIF‐, CRF‐, and VIP‐positive neuropil in the wulst, whereas the highest density of CCK‐ and NT‐staining was found in the deepest layer of the wulst, the hyperstriatum dorsale, In addition to the traditionally defined four laminae of the wulst, the immunoreactive staining revealed several subregions within each lamina. The most dorsolateral portion of the wulst contained the highest densities of ChAT‐ and L‐ENK‐stained fibers in the wulst, as well as moderately dense staining of neuropil for 5‐HT‐, TH‐, SP‐, and CCK‐like immunoreactivity. The nACh‐Rimmunoreactivity was faint and distributed rather uniformly throughout the wulst. The results suggest that the wulst consists of multiple regional variations within layers comparable to laminar variations found within different cytoarchitectonic areas of the mammalian neocortex.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Comparative Neurology, v. 300, issue 3, p. 346-369