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Immunocytochemical localization of aromatase in sensory and integrating nuclei of the hindbrain in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica)


Evrard,  HC
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Dept. Empirical Inference, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent System, Max Planck Society;

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Evrard, H., Harada, N., & Balthazart, J. (2004). Immunocytochemical localization of aromatase in sensory and integrating nuclei of the hindbrain in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). Journal of Comparative Neurology, 473(2), 194–212. doi:10.1002/cne.20068.

The distribution of the estrogen synthesizing enzyme (aromatase) in the hindbrain (rhombencephalon and mesencephalon) of male adult quail was investigated by immunocytochemistry. Aromatase-immunoreactive neuronal structures (perikarya and fibers bearing punctate structures) were observed in sensory (trigeminal, solitary tract, vestibular, optic tectum) and integrating (parabrachial, periaqueductal, cerulean, raphe) nuclei. Besides the expression of aromatase in these well-delineated nuclei, dense to scattered networks of immunoreactive fibers were found dispersed throughout the hindbrain and, in particular, in its rostral and dorsal parts. To a lesser extent, they were also present throughout the premotor nuclei of the reticular formation and in various fiber tracts. In contrast, no immunoreactive signal was found in motor nuclei, and in most of the statoacoustic (cerebellum, cochlear, olive, pontine, part of vestibular) nuclei. The expression of aromatase in perikarya and fibers in areas of the adult hindbrain where estrogen receptors have been identified previously suggests a role for estrogens locally produced in the regulation of sensory and integrating functions, contrary to the widespread assumption that these functions are regulated exclusively by steroids produced in the gonads.