Distribution of unipolar brush cells and other calretinin immunoreactive components in the mammalian cerebellar cortex

J Neurocytol. 1999 Feb;28(2):99-123. doi: 10.1023/a:1007072105919.


We have compared the distribution of unipolar brush cells (UBCs) in the cerebellum of Brazilian opossum (Monodelphis domestica), mouse, guinea pig, rabbit, cat, and Rhesus monkey, using an antiserum to calretinin which is present in those cells. The morphology and calretinin staining intensity of the UBCs remains constant across species. As a general trend, in all species studied, UBCs are particularly enriched in the vestibulocerebellum. Interspecies differences, however, were noted in the distribution of UBCs across other regions of the cerebellar cortex. A major variation involves the extent of the UBC-rich region of the ventral portion of the paraflocculus. The distribution of UBCs in non-vestibular vermal folia also varies substantially. UBCs are deployed in more or less distinct parasagittal zones in the vermis of the opossum, rabbit, cat, and macaque. The density of UBCs decreases progressively from medial to lateral portions of the same folium and is lowest in the lateral, posterior portions of the cerebellar hemispheres (crus II) and in the dorsal portion of the paraflocculus. In cat and macaque, the decrease in the density of UBCs across the intermediate cortex is more gradual than in the other species. The data indicate that the UBCs play a more prominent role in the modulation of sensorimotor transformations in carnivores and primates than in smaller mammals and should not be considered a vestigial form of neuron. In addition to the UBCs, calretinin antibody distinctly stains the following neurons in different species: granule cells and parallel fibers in all species except rabbit and cat; Golgi cells, especially in rat and macaque; Lugaro-like cells, especially in mouse, rat, and macaque; basket cells in macaque; subsets of mossy fibers in all species; and subsets of climbing fibers in all species but guinea pig. Usually, the distribution of UBCs is related to that of calretinin stained granule cells and mossy fibers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calbindin 2
  • Cats
  • Cerebellar Cortex / chemistry*
  • Cerebellar Cortex / cytology
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Opossums
  • Rabbits
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / analysis*
  • Species Specificity


  • Calb2 protein, mouse
  • Calb2 protein, rat
  • Calbindin 2
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G