Purkinje-cell-derived Sonic hedgehog regulates granule neuron precursor cell proliferation in the developing mouse cerebellum

Curr Biol. 1999 Apr 22;9(8):445-8. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(99)80195-x.


Purkinje cells (PCs) are the projection neurons of the cerebellar cortex. They receive two major types of synaptic input - that from the inferior olive via climbing fibres and that from the granule neurons via parallel fibres. The precursors of granule neurons proliferate at the surface of the developing cerebellumin the external granule layer (EGL), which persists until postnatal day 14 in the mouse [1]. PCs are thought to provide trophic support for granule neurons [2][3] and to stimulate the proliferation of cells in the EGL [4], but the signalling molecules that mediate these cell-cell interactions have not been identified. I show here that PCs in the developing mouse cerebellum express the gene encoding the morphogen Sonic hedgehog (Shh) and that dividing cells in the EGL express Patched (Ptc) and Gli1, two target genes of which expression is upregulated in response to Hedgehog signalling (see [5] and references therein). Treatment of developing mice with hybridoma cells that secrete neutralizing anti-Shh antibodies [6] disrupted cerebellar development and reduced bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation in the EGL of neonatal mice, whereas treatment of dissociated granule neuron cultures with recombinant Shh stimulated BrdU incorporation. These results suggest that PC-derived Shh normally promotes the proliferation of granule neuron precursors in the EGL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cerebellum / drug effects
  • Cerebellum / growth & development*
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Hybridomas
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mice
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / immunology
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • Purkinje Cells / chemistry*
  • Purkinje Cells / cytology
  • Trans-Activators*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2