Morphology and distribution of microglial cells in the young and adult mouse cerebellum

J Comp Neurol. 1995 Oct 30;361(4):602-16. doi: 10.1002/cne.903610405.


The morphology and distribution of microglial cells were studied in the normal cerebellum of young and adult mice using the histochemical demonstration of nucleoside diphosphatase as a specific microglial marker. Our results showed that microglial cells were present in all cerebellular lobules of both young and adult mice, but their distribution and morphology were not homogeneous throughout the cerebellum. Heterogeneity in microglial cell distribution was exclusively related to their location in the different histological layers, and no significant differences were found either between the different cerebellar lobules or between young and adult mice. Microglial density was higher in the cerebellar nuclei than in the cortex; within the cortex, the molecular layer was less densely populated by microglial cells than the granular layer and the white matter. The morphological study revealed that microglial cells were ramified in all cerebellar lobules of both young and adult mice but showed different sizes and ramification patterns as a function of their specific location in the different histological layers. Several typologies of microglial cells were described on the basis of observations in both horizontal and coronal sections. The specific layer-related pattern of microglial distribution and morphology in mouse cerebellum strongly suggests a physical and functional adaptation of these cells to the characteristics of their microenvironment.

MeSH terms

  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / metabolism*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microglia / cytology*
  • Microglia / metabolism
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism


  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases
  • nucleoside-diphosphatase