Neurofilament heavy chain expression reveals a unique parasagittal stripe topography in the mouse cerebellum

Cerebellum. 2011 Sep;10(3):409-21. doi: 10.1007/s12311-010-0156-y.


Despite the general uniformity in cellular composition of the adult cerebellum (Cb), the expression of proteins such as ZebrinII/AldolaseC and the small heat shock protein HSP25 reveal striking patterns of parasagittal Purkinje cell (PC) stripes. Based on differences in the stripe configuration within subsets of lobules, the Cb can be further divided into four anterior-posterior transverse zones: anterior zone (AZ) = lobules I-V, central zone (CZ) = lobules VI-VII, posterior zone (PZ) = lobules VIII and anterior IX, and the nodular zone (NZ) = lobules posterior IX-X. Here we used whole-mount and tissue section immunohistochemistry to show that neurofilament heavy chain (NFH) expression alone divides all lobules of the mouse Cb into a complex series of parasagittal stripes of PCs. We revealed that the striped pattern of NFH in the vermis of the AZ and PZ was complementary to ZebrinII and phospholipase C ß3 (PLCß3), and corresponded to phospholipase C ß4 (PLCß4). In the CZ and NZ the stripe pattern of NFH was complementary to HSP25 and corresponded to PLCß3. The boundaries of the NFH stripes were not always sharply delineated. Instead, a gradual decrease in NFH expression was observed toward the edges of particular stripes, resulting in domains comprised of overlapping expression patterns. Furthermore, the terminal field distributions of mossy and climbing fibers had a complex but consistent topographical alignment with NFH stripes. In summary, NFH expression reveals an exquisite level of Cb stripe complexity that respects the transverse zone divisions and delineates an intricately patterned target field for Cb afferents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebellum / metabolism*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurofilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phospholipase C beta / metabolism


  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Hsbp1 protein, mouse
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • neurofilament protein H
  • Phospholipase C beta