Neocortical and cerebellar developmental abnormalities in conditions of selective elimination of peroxisomes from brain or from liver

J Neurosci Res. 2007 Jan;85(1):58-72. doi: 10.1002/jnr.21097.


Defects in the formation of the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum are a prominent feature of the peroxisome biogenesis disorder Zellweger syndrome and in mouse models for this disease. The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of liver and brain peroxisomes on neurodevelopment by analyzing mice with tissue-selective elimination of peroxisomes. To this end, Pex5-loxP mice were bred with albumin/alpha-fetoprotein (Alfp)-Cre and nestin (Nes)-Cre mice. Local elimination of peroxisomes from the brain in Nes-Pex5 knockout mice caused a delay of cortical neuronal migration and of the formation of cerebellar folia and fissures. Migration of granule cells from the external granular layer was retarded, as was the polarization and branching of Purkinje cells, resulting in a less complex branching pattern and a smaller dendritic tree at P21. The Alfp-Pex5 knockout mice were affected differently, displaying a partial arrest of neuronal migration in the cerebral neopallium in the postnatal period despite of the incomplete elimination of peroxisomes from liver during embryonic development. Major abnormalities were seen in the formation of the cerebellum of these liver knockout mice, including hypotrophy, impaired foliation, a delay of granule cell migration, increased cell death, and stunted Purkinje cell arborization. In conclusion, these data demonstrate that absence of peroxisomal function both from liver and brain impairs cortical neuronal migration and maturation of the cerebellum, but different pathogenic mechanisms might be involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cerebellum / abnormalities*
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Liver / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission / methods
  • Neocortex / abnormalities*
  • Neocortex / pathology
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Peroxisome-Targeting Signal 1 Receptor
  • Peroxisomes / pathology*
  • Peroxisomes / ultrastructure
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / deficiency
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Zellweger Syndrome / pathology*


  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides
  • Peroxisome-Targeting Signal 1 Receptor
  • Pex5 protein, mouse
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • 6-N-hydroxylaminopurine deoxynucleoside triphosphate