Cerebellar cortical-layer-specific control of neuronal migration by pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide

Neuroscience. 2007 May 11;146(2):697-712. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.02.025. Epub 2007 Mar 23.


Migration of immature neurons is essential for forming the cortical layers and nuclei. Impairment of migration results in aberrant neuronal cytoarchitecture, which leads to various neurological disorders. Neurons alter the mode, tempo and rate of migration when they translocate through different cortical layers, but little is known about the mechanisms underlying this process. Here we show that endogenous pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) has short-term and cortical-layer-specific effects on granule cell migration in the early postnatal mouse cerebellum. Application of exogenous PACAP significantly slowed the migration of isolated granule cells and shortened the leading process in the microexplant cultures of the postnatal day (P)0-3 cerebella. Interestingly, in the cerebellar slices of P10 mice, application of exogenous PACAP significantly inhibited granule cell migration in the external granular layer (EGL) and molecular layer (ML), but failed to alter the movement in the Purkinje cell layer (PCL) and internal granular layer (IGL). In contrast, application of PACAP antagonist accelerated granule cell migration in the PCL, but did not change the movement in the EGL, ML and IGL. Inhibition of the cAMP signaling and the activity of phospholipase C significantly reduced the effects of exogenous PACAP on granule cell migration. The PACAP action on granule cell migration was transient, and lasted for approximately 2 h. The duration of PACAP action on granule cell migration was determined by the desensitization of its receptors and prolonged by inhibiting the protein kinase C. Endogenous PACAP was present sporadically in the bottom of the ML, intensively in the PCL, and throughout the IGL. Collectively, these results indicated that PACAP acts on granule cell migration as "a brake (stop signal) for cell movement." Furthermore, these results suggest that endogenous PACAP slows granule cell migration when the cells enter the PACAP-rich PCL, and 2 h later the desensitization of PACAP receptors allows the cells to accelerate the rate of migration and to actively move within the PACAP-rich IGL. Therefore, endogenous PACAP may provide a cue that regulates granule cell migration in a cerebellar cortical-layer-specific manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Calbindins
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebellar Cortex / cytology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology
  • Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide / metabolism
  • Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide / pharmacology*
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Calbindins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G
  • Calcium