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System-specific distribution of zinc in the chick brain

A light- and electron-microscopic study using the Timm method

Summary

The brain of young domestic chicks was investigated using a Timm sulfide silver method. Serial Vibratome sections were analyzed under the light microscope, and the localization of zinc-positive structures in selected areas was determined at the ultrastructural level. Both strong and differential staining was visible in the avian telencephalon whereas most subtelencephalic structures showed a pale reaction. The highest staining intensity was found in the nonprimary sensory regions of the telencephalon such as the hyperstriatum dorsale, hyperstriatum ventrale, hippocampus, palaeostriatum augmentatum, lobus parolfactorius and caudal parts of neostriatum. There was an overall gradient of staining intensity in neostriatal areas from rostral to caudal with the heaviest zinc deposits in the caudal neostriatum. Primary sensory projection areas, such as the ectostriatum (visual), hyperstriatum intercalatum superius (visual), nucleus basalis (beak representation), the input layer L2 of the auditory field L and the somatosensory area rostral to field L were selectively left unstained. Fiber tracts throughout the brain were free of zinc deposits except for glial cells. In electron micrographs of stained regions, silver grains were localized in some presynaptic boutons of asymmetric synapses (Gray type I), within the cytoplasm of neuronal somata and sporadically in the nucleus. The possible involvement of zinc in synaptic transmission and other processes is discussed.

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Abbreviations

Ac :

Nucleus accumbens

Ad :

Archistriatum dorsale

Ai :

Archistriatum intermedium

Am :

Archistriatum mediale

Ap :

Archistriatum posterior

APH :

Area parahippocampalis

BAS :

Nucleus basalis

BO :

Bulbus olfactorius

Cb :

Cerebellum;

CbI :

Nucleus cerebellaris internus

CbM :

Nucleus cerebellaris intermedius

CDL :

Area corticoidea dorsolateralis

CPi :

Cortex piriformis

CT :

Commissura tectalis

DMP :

Nucleus dorsomedialis posterior thalami

E :

Ectostriatum

H :

Hyperstriatum

HA :

Hyperstriatum accessorium

HD :

Hyperstriatum dorsale

HIS :

Hyperstriatum intercalatum superius

Hp :

Hippocampus

HV :

Hyperstriatum ventrale

ICo :

Nucleus intercollicularis

Ipc :

Nucleus isthmi, pars parvocellularis

L :

Lingula

L 1, 2, 3 :

Field L

La :

Nucleus laminaris

LFM :

Lamina frontalis suprema

LFS :

Lamina frontalis superior

LH :

Lamina hyperstriatica

LMD :

Lamina medullaris dorsalis

LNH :

Rostrolateral neostriatum/Hyperstriatum ventrale

LPO :

Lobus parolfactorius

M :

Medulla

MLd :

Nucleus mesencephalicus lateralis, pars dorsalis

MNH :

Rostromedial neostriatum/Hyperstriatum ventrale

N :

Neostriatum

NC :

Neostriatum caudale

NEB :

Nucleus of ectostriatal belt

NHA :

Nucleus of HA

PA :

Palaeostriatum augmentatum

Pap :

Nucleus papillioformis

PL :

Nucleus pontis lateralis

PP :

Palaeostriatum primitivum

RP :

Nucleus reticularis pontis caudalis

Rt :

Nucleus rotundus

S :

Nucleus septalis

SS :

Somatosensory area

TeO :

Tectum opticum

Tn :

Nucleus taeniae

TPO :

Area temporoparieto-occipitalis

V :

Ventricle

Va :

Vallecula

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Correspondence to Heidi Faber.

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Faber, H., Braun, K., Zuschratter, W. et al. System-specific distribution of zinc in the chick brain. Cell Tissue Res. 258, 247–257 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00239445

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Key words

  • Zinc
  • Timm method
  • Ultrastructure
  • Synapses
  • Avian brain
  • Domestic fowl