Avian galanin was first isolated from the chicken intestine, and subsequently we isolated the same peptide from the quail oviduct. Galanin is known to be a multifunctional peptide in the neuroendocrine system in mammals, while little information is available for the galanin action in the central nervous system in birds. In the present study, therefore, we examined the presence and the localization of galanin and its binding sites in the quail brain. The binding of [125I]iodo-avian galanin to brain tissues specifically inhibited as a function of the concentrations of unlabeled avian galanin. In all of the observed brain regions, the number of galanin-binding sites when compared on the basis of unit weight was maximal in the interbrain including the preoptic and hypothalamic regions and minimal in the cerebellum The Scatchard plot analysis of the galanin binding to the interbrain revealed that the apparent equilibrium constant of dissociation (K(d)) was 0.281 (95% confidence interval, 0.234-0.351) nM, suggesting the presence of a single class of high-affinity binding sites. Although galanin-like immunoreactivity was found in several restricted regions throughout the brain, the most intense immunoreaction was present in the diencephalic region. Abundant immunoreactive cell bodies and/or fibers were localized in several preoptic and hypothalamic nuclei, i.e., the nucleus preopticus medialis (POM), the nucleus paraventricularis (PVN), the nucleus periventricularis hypothalami (PHN) and the nucleus infundibuli (IN), that are known to be involved in the control of reproductive behaviors as well as the pituitary hormone secretion. A substantial number of immunoreactive cell bodies and/or fibers was further observed within the septal nuclei in the telencephalon and several mesencephalic nuclei including the nucleus intercollicularis (ICo) involved in the control of vocalizations. These results suggest that avian galanin may act as an important factor to modulate the some reproductive behaviors and/or the pituitary hormone secretion in the bird.
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