While brain development during embryogenesis has been extensively studied in precocial birds, there is no information available on altricial birds. Thus, the concentrations of the catecholamines norepinephrine (NE), epinephrine (E), and dopamine (DA), and the dopaminergic metabolites 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenylacetic acid (HVA) were determined at several stages during the late embryonic period (E13, E14, E15, E16, E17 and E18) and the day-of-hatch (PO) in the pigeon telencephalon, cerebellum, optic lobe, and brainstem. The concentrations of all catecholamines were higher than those reported in chicken embryos. During embryogenesis, NE, E, DOPAC and HVA concentrations in the various brain parts increased throughout embryonic development until shortly before hatching at which time they decreased. DA, however, continued to increase through hatching in the brainstem, and the changes in DA concentrations varied in several brain parts. In conclusion, catecholamine concentrations in the various brain parts tended to increase with embryonic age, and the concentrations were higher than those in chickens. Furthermore, brain catcholamine metabolism changed at hatch in pigeons.
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