Genesis of neuronal and glial progenitors in the cerebellar cortex of peripuberal and adult rabbits

PLoS One. 2008 Jun 4;3(6):e2366. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002366.


Adult neurogenesis in mammals is restricted to some brain regions, in contrast with other vertebrates in which the genesis of new neurons is more widespread in different areas of the nervous system. In the mammalian cerebellum, neurogenesis is thought to be limited to the early postnatal period, coinciding with end of the granule cell genesis and disappearance of the external granule cell layer (EGL). We recently showed that in the rabbit cerebellum the EGL is replaced by a proliferative layer called 'subpial layer' (SPL) which persists beyond puberty on the cerebellar surface. Here we investigated what happens in the cerebellar cortex of peripuberal rabbits by using endogenous and exogenously-administered cell proliferation antigens in association with a cohort of typical markers for neurogenesis. We show that cortical cell progenitors extensively continue to be generated herein. Surprisingly, this neurogenic process continues to a lesser extent in the adult, even in the absence of a proliferative SPL. We describe two populations of newly generated cells, involving neuronal cells and multipolar, glia-like cells. The genesis of neuronal precursors is restricted to the molecular layer, giving rise to cells immunoreactive for GABA, and for the transcription factor Pax2, a marker for GABAergic cerebellar interneuronal precursors of neuroepithelial origin that ascend through the white matter during early postnatal development. The multipolar cells are Map5+, contain Olig2 and Sox2 transcription factors, and are detectable in all cerebellar layers. Some dividing Sox2+ cells are Bergmann glia cells. All the cortical newly generated cells are independent from the SPL and from granule cell genesis, the latter ending before puberty. This study reveals that adult cerebellar neurogenesis can exist in some mammals. Since rabbits have a longer lifespan than rodents, the protracted neurogenesis within its cerebellar parenchyma could be a suitable model for studying adult nervous tissue permissiveness in mammals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Cortex / cytology*
  • Cerebellar Cortex / metabolism
  • Cerebellar Cortex / ultrastructure
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / ultrastructure
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Rabbits