Nucleus accumbens subregions: hodological and immunohistochemical study in the domestic chick (Gallus domesticus)
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The nucleus accumbens was identified in avian species some time ago. However, the precise localization and extent of this nucleus is still a matter of controversy. We have used immunolabeling against calbindin, neuropeptide Y, and DARPP-32 (dopamine- and adenosine-related phosphoprotein, 32 kDa) for the selective marking of putative accumbens subdivisions and have followed the anterograde transport of biotinylated dextran amine injected to the nucleus tractus solitarii region of 7-day-old domestic chicks. The nucleus accumbens extending between rostrocaudal atlas coordinates A 10.6 and A 8.8 can be subdivided into the core and shell, the core corresponding to the ventromedial and juxtaventricular medial striatum laterodorsal to the bed nucleus of stria terminalis, and the shell representing an arched region situated ventrally and ventrolaterally to the core. Immunoreactivity to both calbindin and neuropeptide Y is more intense in the shell than in the core division. DARPP-32 immunolabeling does not differ in the two divisions but is markedly weaker in the bed nucleus of stria terminalis, enabling the separation of this nucleus from the surrounding accumbens subdivisions. Fibers from the nucleus solitarius predominantly terminate in the shell division, similar to the situation described in mammals. Whereas the suggested core lies entirely within the boundary of the medial striatum, the shell seems partially to overlap the ventral pallidum. We have been unable to subdivide the remaining part of accumbens lying rostral to A 10.6 into a putative shell and core by the methods employed in the present study. This region probably corresponds to the rostral pole of the nucleus accumbens.