The expression of DARPP-32 in adult male zebra finches (Taenopygia guttata)

  • Utkarsha A. Singh
  • Soumya IyengarEmail author
Original Article


Although the catecholaminergic circuitry in the zebra finch brain has been well studied, there is little information regarding the postsynaptic targets of dopamine. To answer this question, we looked at overall patterns of immunoreactivity for DARPP-32 (a dopamine and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein, present mostly in dopaminoceptive neurons) in adult male zebra finches. Our results demonstrated that as in mammals and other avian species, DARPP-32 expression was highest in both medial and lateral striatum. Interestingly, a specific pattern of immunoreactivity was observed in the song control system, with ‘core’ song control regions, that is, LMANcore (lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium), RA (nucleus robustus arcopallialis) and HVC being less immunoreactive for DARPP-32 than ‘shell’ areas such as LMANshell, RAcup, AId (intermediate arcopallium) and HVCshelf. Our results suggest that whereas dopamine may modulate the shell pathways at various levels of the AFP, dopaminergic modulation of the core pathway occurs mainly through Area X, a basal ganglia nucleus. Further, secondary sensory cortices including the perientopallial belt, Fields L1 and L3 had higher DARPP-32-immunoreactivity than primary sensory cortical areas such as the pallial basolateral nucleus, entopallium proper and Field L2, corresponding to somatosensory, visual and auditory systems, respectively. We also found DARPP-32-rich axon terminals surrounding dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area–substantia nigra complex which in turn project to the striatum, suggesting that there may be a reciprocal modulation between these regions. Overall, DARPP-32 expression appears to be higher in areas involved in integrating sensory information, which further supports the role of this protein as a molecular integrator of different signal processing pathways.


DARPP-32 Dopamine Core and shell regions Anterior forebrain pathway Vocal motor pathway Zebra finch 





Nucleus accumbens


Intermediate arcopallium


Nucleus ansa lenticularis


Intermediate parahippocampal area


Medial parahippocampal area


Lateral parahippocampal area


Area ventralis tegmenti


Nucleus Basolateralis pallii


Lateral bed nucleus of stria terminalis


Medial bed nucleus of stria terminalis (pallidal)


Medial bed nucleus of stria terminalis (preoptic)


Dorsolateral corticoid area


Oval central nucleus


Chiasma opticum


Commisura anterior


Commisura posterior


4, 6-Diamidino-2-phenylindole


Dopamine and cAMP regulated phosphoprotein Mr 32 kDa


Dorsomedial nucleus


Dentate gyrus


Nucleus dorsolateralis anterior thalami


Nucleus dorsolateralis anterior thalami pars lateralis


Nucleus dorsolateralis anterior thalami pars medialis


Nucleus dorsolateralis anterior thalami pars medialis (dorso lateral)


Nucleus dorsolateralis anterior thalami pars medialis (ventro medial)


Nucleus dorsomedialis posterior thalami


Decussatio supraoptica dorsalis




Perientopallial belt


Tractus fronto arcopallialis


Fasciculus prosencephali lateralis (lateral forebrain bundle)


Griseum centrale


Nucleus geniculatus lateralis, pars ventralis


Globus pallidus


Hyperpallium apicale




Hyperpallium densocellulare




Hippocampal area 2


Hippocampus proper


Used as a formal name


Nucleus intercollicularis


Interstitial hyperpallium apicale


Nucleus isthmi, pars magnocellularis


Intrapeduncular nucleus


Nucleus isthmi, pars parvocellularis


Intercalated cell-like patches (ventral)


Auditory area, field L


Secondary auditory region; part of field L complex


Subdivision of field L complex; part of L2


Subdivision of field L complex; part of L2


Secondary auditory region; part of field L complex


Nucleus Lateralis anterior thalami


Lamina arcopallialis dorsalis


Lamina mesopallialis


Lamina frontalis suprema


Lamina frontalis superior


Nucleus lentiformis mesencephali


Lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium core


Lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium shell


Lamina pallio-subpallialis


Lateral striatum




Medial amygdala


Nucleus mesencepalicus lateralis, pars dorsalis


Nucleus mesencepalicus lateralis, pars dorsalis (internal)


Nucleus mesencepalicus lateralis, pars dorsalis (outer)


Medial nucleus of the anterior nidopallium


Medial striatum


Formal name, located in the mesopallium




Nucleus angularis


Caudal nidopallium


Nervus oculomotorius


Nucleus laminaris


Nucleus magnocellularis


Tractus occipito-mesencephalicus


Nucleus nervi oculomotorii, pars dorsalis


Nucleus ovoidalis


Commisural part of preoptic area


Nucleus sensorius principalis nervi trigemini


Pretectal nucleus


Paraventricular nucleus


Nucleus robustus arcopallii


Nucleus rotundus




Substantia grisea et fibrosa periventriculare


Lateral septal nucleus


Nucleus semilunaris


Medial septal nucleus


Substantia nigra


Subpallial amygdala


Nucleus spiriformis lateralis


Tectum opticum


Tractus thalamo-frontalis et frontalis-thalamicus


Tyrosine hydroxylase


Nucleus taeniae of amygdala


Tractus opticus


Tractus septopalliomesencephalicus


Nucleus uvaeformis




Lateral vestibular nucleus


Medial vestibular nucleus


Ventromedial hypothalamus (lateral)


Ventromedial hypothalamus (medial)


Ventral pallidum


Ventral tegmental area


Area X, a basal ganglia song control nucleus



This study was funded partly by a Grant from the Department of Science and Technology, India to SI (EMR/2015/001422) and partly by core funds from NBRC. The authors also wish to acknowledge the support of facilities provided through the Distributed Information Centre at NBRC, Manesar, under the aegis of the Biotechnology Information System Network (BTISNET) grant, DBT, India.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study were approved by the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee at the National Brain Research Centre, Manesar, India (NBRC/IAEC/2013/85), which are in accordance with the guidelines of Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA), India.

Supplementary material

429_2019_1947_MOESM1_ESM.tif (99.6 mb)
Supplementary Figure: Lack of immunoreactivity for DARPP-32 in a section used as a negative control. The section was incubated in the blocking serum (normal goat serum) instead of the primary antibody. Scale bar, 1 mm. (TIFF 101,995 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Systems NeuroscienceNational Brain Research Centre (Deemed University)GurugramIndia

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