By means of the peroxidase-antiperoxidase technique a comparative immunocytochemical study of the distribution of the vasotocin- and vasopressin-reacting system in the chicken and rat hypothalamus was carried out. In both species it is possible to distinguish, on the basis of their topographical location, three different comparable populations: The first one is situated very close to the pial surface and the optic chiasma (L1 and L2 groups in the chicken and the supraoptic nucleus in the rat). The second one is located near to the third ventricle and corresponds to the suprachiasmatic nucleus of both species and the periventricular groups of the chicken (P1, P2, and P3 groups) and the periventricular subdivision of the paraventricular nucleus of the rat. The third one is situated between the two previous populations and consists of small clusters of reacting neurons (L3 and L5 groups in the chicken and the nucleus circularis and fornicalis in the rat) and to a large cluster of reacting neurons (L4 group in the chicken and the magnocellular part of the paraventricular nucleus in rat). In the median eminence of the chicken the immunoreactive axons were located in the internal zone and the anterior part of the external zone. However in the rat, the reaction was exclusively located in the internal zone.
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