Phenotype changes of inferior olive neurons following collateral reinnervation

Neuroscience. 1999;94(1):209-15. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(99)00268-7.


Inferior olive neurons are able to enlarge or retract their axonic terminal fields in response to changes in the extension of their target domain. Following Purkinje cell loss, the retraction of target-deprived climbing fibres is accompanied by a size reduction in the inferior olive neuron cell bodies. Here, we asked whether perikaryal modifications also occur when inferior olivary neurons enlarge their terminal fields to innervate supernumerary targets. To achieve this aim, we carried out a morphometric analysis on the somatic compartment of inferior olive neurons in two experimental conditions known to induce an expansion of their terminal field, i.e. a subtotal 3-acetylpyridine inferior olive lesion in the adult and a unilateral transection of the inferior cerebellar peduncle in newborn rats. In both experimental conditions, the inferior olive neurons that survived the lesion showed a remarkable increase in cell body and nuclear size, although the latter change was less pronounced in the 3-acetylpyridine-treated animals. These results show that both developing and mature inferior olive neurons are capable of adjusting their perikaryal phenotype to match the modifications of their target size.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Cerebellum / surgery
  • Denervation
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurotoxins
  • Olivary Nucleus / cytology*
  • Olivary Nucleus / growth & development*
  • Olivary Nucleus / physiology
  • Phenotype
  • Pyridines
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Neurotoxins
  • Pyridines
  • 3-acetylpyridine