Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 245, Issue 3, pp 539–546 | Cite as

Sensory projections to the nucleus basalis prosencephali of the pigeon

  • Ulrich Schall
  • Onur Güntürkün
  • Juan D. Delius


The afferent pathways to the nucleus basalis prosencephali of the pigeon were studied by use of the horseradish peroxidase (HRP) technique. It was confirmed that this nucleus receives a direct pathway from the nucleus sensorius principalis nervi trigemini and that, as in the starling, it receives a direct input from the nucleus lemnisci lateralis, pars ventralis, an auditory relay. Totally novel is the finding that the nucleus basalis prosencephali is the target of a direct pathway originating in the medullary nucleus vestibularis superior. All three pathways bypass the thalamus. From within the telencephalon the nucleus basalis prosencephali also receives fibres from the tuberculum olfactorium and the peri-ectostriatal belt, suggestive of olfactory and visual input. Marked cell bodies were also found in the neostriatum frontolaterale. It is assumed that these arose from HRP uptake by axons of the tractus fronto-archistriatalis that course through the nucleus basalis prosencephali to the anterodorsal archistriatum. Marked fibres and bouton-like formations were observed in the latter structure. The afferents to the nucleus basalis prosencephali are discussed in conjunction with the probable role of the nucleus as a sensorimotor coordinator of the pecking/feeding behaviour of the pigeon.

Key words

Nucleus basalis prosencephali Feeding system Sensorimotor circuit Retrograde tracing Pigeon 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baumel JJ (eded) (1979) Nomina anatomica avium. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Berkhoudt H, Dubbeldam JL, Zeilstra S (1981) Studies on the somatotopy of the trigeminal system in the mallard, Anas platyrhynchos L. IV Tactile representation in the nucleus basalis. J Comp Neurol 196:407–420Google Scholar
  3. Berkhoudt H, Klein BG, Zeigler HP (1982) Afferents to the trigeminal and fascial motor nuclei in pigeon (Columba livia): Central connections of jaw motorneurons. J Comp Neurol 209:301–312Google Scholar
  4. Boord RL (1968) Ascending projections of the primary cochlear nuclei and nucleus laminaris in the pigeon. J Comp Neurol 133:523–542Google Scholar
  5. Cohen DH, Karten HJ (1974) The structural organization of avian brain: an overview. In: Goodman IJ, Schein MW (eds) Birds, Brain and Behavior. Academic Press, New York San Francisco London, pp 29–71Google Scholar
  6. Correia MJ, Eden AR, Westlund KN, Coulter JD (1982) Organization of ascending auditory pathways in the pigeon (Columba livia) as determined by autoradiographic methods. Brain Res 234:205–212Google Scholar
  7. Delius JD (1971) Foraging behavior patterns of herring gulls elicited by electrical forebrain stimulation. Experientia 27:1287–1289Google Scholar
  8. Delius JD (1985) The pecking of the pigeon: free for all. In: Lowe CF, Richelle M, Blackman DE, Bradshaw CM (eds) Behaviour analysis and contemporary psychology. Erlbaum, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Delius JD, Runge TE, Oeckinghaus H (1979) Short latency auditory projections to the frontal telencephalon of the pigeon. Exp Neurol 63:594–609Google Scholar
  10. Dubbeldam JL, Brauch CSM, Don A (1981) Studies on the somatotopy of the trigeminal system in the mallard, Anas platyrhynchos L. III Afferents and organization of the nucleus basalis. J comp Neurol 196:391–405Google Scholar
  11. Ebbesson SOE (1984) Evolution and ontogeny of neural circuits. Behav Brain Sci 7:321–366Google Scholar
  12. Gentle MS (1975) Gustatory behaviour of the chicken and other birds. In: Wright P, Caryl PG, Vowles DM (eds) Neural and endocrine aspects of behaviour in birds. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  13. Harman AL, Phillips RF (1967) Responses in the avian forebrain evoked by click stimuli. Exp Neurol 18:276–286Google Scholar
  14. Henton WW (1969) Conditioned suppression to odorous stimuli in pigeons. J Exp Anal Behav 12:175–185Google Scholar
  15. Hodos W, Leibowitz RW, Bonbright JC (1976) Near field acuity of pigeons: effects of head location and stimulus luminance. J Exp Anal Behav 25:129–141Google Scholar
  16. Källen B (1962) Embryogenesis of brain nuclei in the chick telencephalon. Ergeb Anat Entwicklungsgesch 36:62–82Google Scholar
  17. Karten HJ (1969) The ascending auditory pathway in the pigeon (Columba livia). II. Telencephalic projections of the nucleus ovoidalis thalami. Brain Res 11:134–153Google Scholar
  18. Karten HJ, Hodos W (1967) A stereotaxic atlas of the brain of the pigeon. Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, MarylandGoogle Scholar
  19. Karten HJ, Hodos W (1970) Telencephalic projections of the nucleus rotundus in the pigeon (Columba livia). J Comp Neurol 140:35–52Google Scholar
  20. Kirsch M (1983) Antworteigenschaften und Verbindungen des akustischen Zentrums mit kurzer Latenz im frontalen Vorderhirn (Sturnus vulgaris L.). Verh Dtsch Zool Ges 296:296Google Scholar
  21. Macadar AW, Rausch LJ, Wenzel BM, Hutchinson LV (1980) Electrophysiology of the olfactory pathway in the pigeon. JComp Physiol 137:39–46Google Scholar
  22. Mallin HD, Delius JD (1983) Inter- and intraocular transfer of colour discriminations with mandibulation as an operant in the head-fixed pigeon. Behav Anat Lett 3:297–309Google Scholar
  23. Mariotti G, Fiore L (1980) Operant conditioning studies of taste discrimination in the pigeon (Columba livia). Physiol Behav 24:163–168Google Scholar
  24. Mesulam MM (1978) Tetramethyl benzidine for horseradish peroxidase neurohistochemistry. A non-carcinogenic blue reaction-product with superior sensitivity for visualizing neural afferents and efferents. J Histochem Cytochem 26:106–117PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Naumov NP, Iljitschev WD (1964) Klanganalyse im Großhirn der Vögel. Naturwissenschaften 51:644Google Scholar
  26. Rieke GK, Wenzel BM (1978) Forebrain projections of the pigeon olfactory bulb. J Morphol 158:41–55Google Scholar
  27. Ritchie TLC, Cohen DH (1977) The avian tectofugal visual pathway: projections of its telencephalic target, the ectostriatal complex. Neurosci Abstr 3:275Google Scholar
  28. Smith RF (1974) Topography of the food-reinforced key peck and the source of 30-millisecond interresponse times. J Exp Anal Behav 21:541–551Google Scholar
  29. Veenman CL (1984) The organization of the nculeus basalis — neostriatum complex in the goose (Anser anser L.). Thesis, University Leiden, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  30. Wallenberg A (1903) Der Ursprung des Tractus isthmo-striatus (oder bulbo-striatus) der Taube. Neurol Zentralbl 22:98–101Google Scholar
  31. Wallenberg A (1966) Beiträge zur vergleichenden Anatomie des Zentralnervensystems. J Hirnforsch 7:275–300Google Scholar
  32. Wild JM, Zeigler HA (1980) Central representation of the jaw muscles within the facial and trigeminal nuclei of the pigeon (Columba livia). J Comp Neurol 192:175–201Google Scholar
  33. Wild JM, Arends JJA, Zeigler HP (1984) A trigeminal sensorimotor circuit for pecking, grasping and feeding in the pigeon (Columba livia). Brain Res 300:146–151Google Scholar
  34. Wild JM, Arends JJA, Zeigler HP (1985) Telencephalic connections of the trigeminal system in the pigeon (Columba livia): a trigeminal sensorimotor circuit. J Comp Neurol 234:441–464Google Scholar
  35. Wilson VJ, Felpel LP (1972) Specificity of semicircular input to neurons in the pigeon's vestibular nuclei. J Neurophysiol 35:253–264Google Scholar
  36. Witkovsky P, Silver R, Zeigler HP (1973) The nucleus basalis of the pigeon: a single unit analysis. J Comp Neurol 147:119–128Google Scholar
  37. Wold JE (1975) The vestibular nuclei in the domestic hen (Gallus domesticus). II. Primary afferents. Brain Res 95:531–543Google Scholar
  38. Würdinger I (1979) Olfaction and feeding behaviour in juvenile geese (Anser a. anser and Anser domesticus) Z Tierpsychol 49:132–135Google Scholar
  39. Zecha A (1962) The “pyramidal tract” and other telencephalic efferents in birds. Acta Morphol Neerl Scand 5:194–195Google Scholar
  40. Zeier H, Karten HJ (1971) The archistriatum of the pigeon: organization of afferent and efferent connections. Brain Res 31:313–326Google Scholar
  41. Zeigler HP (1976) Feeding behavior of the pigeon. Adv Study Behav 7:285–389Google Scholar
  42. Zweers GA (1982) Pecking of the pigeon, (Columba livia L.). Behaviour 81:173–230Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Schall
    • 1
  • Onur Güntürkün
    • 1
  • Juan D. Delius
    • 1
  1. 1.Experimentelle TierpsychologiePsychologisches Institut Ruhr-Universität BochumBochumBundesrepublik Deutschland

Personalised recommendations