Embryonic development of the rat cerebellum. I. Delineation of the cerebellar primordium and early cell movements

J Comp Neurol. 1985 Jan 1;231(1):1-26. doi: 10.1002/cne.902310103.


Short-survival and long-survival thymidine radiograms, and methacrylate-embedded tissue from normal and X-irradiated rat embryos were used to delineate the neuroepithelial source of the cerebellum and trace the earliest cell movements. The cerebellar anlage, crescent shaped, is demarcated by two ventricular landmarks, the anterior extension of the tela choroidea of the fourth ventricle and the embryonic cerebellar fissure. The cerebellar tela choroidea extends from the medullary fourth ventricle posteromedially to the lateral recess of the pontine fourth ventricle anterolaterally. The embryonic cerebellar fissure begins caudally as a single midline incision beneath the fused posterior cerebellar primordium, then splits to follow the unfused cerebellar halves, first separating each from the isthmus then from the pons. The cerebellar primordium is divided into three parts. The lateral cerebellar primordium caps the lateral recess of the fourth ventricle; it is contiguous with the pons medially and separated ventrally from the anlage of the cochlear nuclei by the tela choroidea. The subisthmal cerebellar primordium is situated beneath the isthmus, medially lining the isthmus canal. Laterally and posteriorly, it is continuous with the lateral and postisthmal primordia. The postisthmal cerebellar primordium caps the postisthmal recess of the fourth ventricle and extends to the medullary fourth ventricle. As we shall describe later, each of these primordia is a source of different components of the developing cerebellum. Most cells of the superficially located nuclear transitory zone are labeled with 3H-thymidine administered on day E14 but not thereafter. A high proportion of the cells of the deeper cortical transitory zone could still be labeled on day E15. This supports the assumption made earlier that the first is composed of differentiating deep neurons, the second of Purkinje cells. The cells of the nuclear transitory zone originate in the lateral cerebellar primordium near the junction with the tela choroidea prior to the formation of the germinal trigone and migrate in a superficial position medially. Beginning on day E16, the nuclear transitory zone splits into two components. One has transversely oriented cells that seem to be the source of a decussating fiber tract, presumably the hook bundle of Russell. The other is composed of longitudinally oriented cells that apparently contribute fibers to the ipsilateral superior cerebellar peduncle. The translocation of the cells of the nuclear transitory zone from the cerebellar surface to its depth, to form the deep nuclei, and the radial migration of the cells of the cortical transitory zone to the surfa

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Cell Movement
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / embryology*
  • Cerebellum / radiation effects
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Thymidine / metabolism


  • Thymidine