Distribution of vasotocin- and vasoactive intestinal peptide-like immunoreactivity in the brain of blue tit (Cyanistes coeruleus)

Catherine M. Montagnese, Tamás Székely, András Csillag, Gergely Zachar

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Blue tits (Cyanistes coeruleus) are songbirds, used as model animals in numerous studies covering a wide field of research. Nevertheless, the distribution of neuropeptides in the brain of this avian species remains largely unknown. Here we present some of the first results on distribution of Vasotocine (AVT) and Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) in the brain of males and females of this songbird species, using immunohistochemistry mapping. The bulk of AVT-like cells are found in the hypothalamic supraoptic, paraventricular and suprachiasmatic nuclei, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, and along the lateral forebrain bundle. Most AVT-like fibers course toward the median eminence, some reaching the arcopallium, and lateral septum. Further terminal fields occur in the dorsal thalamus, ventral tegmental area and pretectal area. Most VIP-like cells are in the lateral septal organ and arcuate nucleus. VIP-like fibers are distributed extensively in the hypothalamus, preoptic area, lateral septum, diagonal band of Broca. They are also found in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, amygdaloid nucleus of taenia, robust nucleus of the arcopallium, caudo-ventral hyperpallium, nucleus accumbens and the brainstem. Taken together, these results suggest that both AVT and VIP immunoreactive structures show similar distribution to other avian species, emphasizing evolutionary conservatism in the history of vertebrates. The current study may enable future investigation into the localization of AVT and VIP, in relation to behavioral and ecological traits in the brain of tit species.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Neuroanatomy
Issue number90
Early online date14 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • Avian brain
  • Mapping
  • Neuropeptides
  • Paridae
  • Songbird


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