Cytodifferentiation of Bergmann glia and its relationship with Purkinje cells

Anat Sci Int. 2002 Jun;77(2):94-108. doi: 10.1046/j.0022-7722.2002.00021.x.


The Bergmann glia is composed of unipolar protoplasmic astrocytes in the cerebellar cortex. Bergmann glial cells locate their cell bodies around Purkinje cells, and extend radial or Bergmann fibers enwrapping synapses on Purkinje cell dendrites. During development, Bergmann fibers display a tight association with migrating granule cells, from which the concept of glia-guided neuronal migration has been proposed. Thus, it is widely known that the Bergmann glia is associated with granule cells in the developing cerebellum and with Purkinje cells in the adult cerebellum. As the information on how Bergmann glial cells are related structurally and functionally with differentiating Purkinje cells is quite fragmental, this issue has been investigated using cytochemical techniques for Bergmann glial cells. This review classifies the cytodifferentiation of Bergmann glial cells into four stages, that is, radial glia, migration, transformation and protoplasmic astrocytes, and then summarizes their structural relationship with Purkinje cells at each stage. The results conclude that the cytodifferentiation of Bergmann glial cells proceeds in correlation with the migration, dendritogenesis, synaptogenesis and maturation of Purkinje cells. Furthermore, morphological and molecular plasticity of this neuroglia appears to be regulated depending on the cytodifferentiation of nearby Purkinje cells. The functional relevance of this intimate neuron-glial relationship is also discussed with reference to recent studies in cell biology, cell ablation and gene knockout.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cerebellum / cytology*
  • Cerebellum / embryology
  • Cerebellum / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Purkinje Cells / cytology
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology*
  • Rats