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Glutamatergic thalamopallial projections in the pigeon identified by retrograde labeling and expression of vGluT2 mRNA

Atoji, Y;Karim, MR;

A neocortical hypothesis as to homology of certain nuclear components of the avian brain proposes that the entopallium and field L2 are homologous to layer 4 of mammalian extrastriate and auditory neocortex, respectively. However, the hypothesis lacks support from the neurochemistry of thalamopallial projections. We investigated whether these projections are glutamatergic by injecting cholera toxin B into either the entopallium or field L2 in combination with in situ hybridization. Retrogradely labeled neurons in nucleus rotundus and nucleus ovoidalis were found to express vesicular glutamate transporter 2 mRNA, showing that the thalamopallial projections are glutamatergic. The results are consistent with the neocortical hypothesis.