Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 216, Issue 3, pp 239–254

The receptor architecture of the pigeons’ nidopallium caudolaterale: an avian analogue to the mammalian prefrontal cortex

Authors

    • C. and O. Vogt-Institute of Brain ResearchUniversity of Düsseldorf
  • Nicola Palomero-Gallagher
    • Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine INM-2, Research Center Jülich
  • Burkhard Hellmann
    • Department of Biopsychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of PsychologyRuhr-University Bochum
  • Sven Kröner
    • School of Behavioral and Brain SciencesThe University of Texas at Dallas
  • Carsten Theiss
    • Institute of Anatomy and Molecular Embryology, Faculty of MedicineRuhr-University Bochum
  • Onur Güntürkün
    • Department of Biopsychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of PsychologyRuhr-University Bochum
  • Karl Zilles
    • C. and O. Vogt-Institute of Brain ResearchUniversity of Düsseldorf
    • Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine INM-2, Research Center Jülich
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00429-011-0301-5

Cite this article as:
Herold, C., Palomero-Gallagher, N., Hellmann, B. et al. Brain Struct Funct (2011) 216: 239. doi:10.1007/s00429-011-0301-5

Abstract

The avian nidopallium caudolaterale is a multimodal area in the caudal telencephalon that is apparently not homologous to the mammalian prefrontal cortex but serves comparable functions. Here we analyzed binding-site densities of glutamatergic AMPA, NMDA and kainate receptors, GABAergic GABAA, muscarinic M1, M2 and nicotinic (nACh) receptors, noradrenergic α1 and α2, serotonergic 5-HT1A and dopaminergic D1-like receptors using quantitative in vitro receptor autoradiography. We compared the receptor architecture of the pigeons’ nidopallial structures, in particular the NCL, with cortical areas Fr2 and Cg1 in rats and prefrontal area BA10 in humans. Our results confirmed that the relative ratios of multiple receptor densities across different nidopallial structures (their “receptor fingerprints”) were very similar in shape; however, the absolute binding densities (the “size” of the fingerprints) differed significantly. This finding enables a delineation of the avian NCL from surrounding structures and a further parcellation into a medial and a lateral part as revealed by differences in densities of nACh, M2, kainate, and 5-HT1A receptors. Comparisons of the NCL with the rat and human frontal structures showed differences in the receptor distribution, particularly of the glutamate receptors, but also revealed highly conserved features like the identical densities of GABAA, M2, nACh and D1-like receptors. Assuming a convergent evolution of avian and mammalian prefrontal areas, our results support the hypothesis that specific neurochemical traits provide the molecular background for higher order processes such as executive functions. The differences in glutamate receptor distributions may reflect species-specific adaptations.

Keywords

Receptor autoradiographyPrefrontal cortexNidopallium caudolateraleRatHumanFr2Cg1BA10DopamineGlutamateGABA

Abbreviations

ACh

Acetylcholine

AMPA

α-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxalone propionic acid

Cg1

Cingulate cortex 1

CDL

Dorsolateral corticoid area

EPSCs

Excitatory postsynaptic currents

FR2

Frontal area 2

GABA

γ-Aminobutyric acid

GLI

Gray level index

gluR1

Glutamate receptor subunit 1

HA

Hyperpallium apicale

HVC

Higher vocal center

IMM

Intermediate and medial mesopallium ventrale

MNH

Mediorostral nidopallium/hyperpallium

nACh

Nicotinic acetylcholine

NCC

Nidopallium caudocentrale

NCL

Nidopallium caudolaterale

NCLl

Nidopallium caudolaterale pars lateralis

NCLm

Nidopallium caudolaterale pars medialis

NCM

Nidopallium caudomediale

NFT

Nidopallium fronto-trigeminale

NIM

Nidopallium intermedium medialis

NMDA

N-methyl-d-aspartate

PFC

Prefrontal cortex

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011