The compartmentalization of the cerebellum

Annu Rev Neurosci. 1997;20:61-90. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.20.1.61.


The concept of developmental compartments originated in studies of Drosophila embryogenesis. This review examines the hypothesis that the modular structure of the vertebrate cerebellum is strongly analogous to this earlier scheme. The pattern of cerebellar development, the adult circuitry, a variety of molecular markers expressed in specific subdivisions, and the phenotypes of several neurological mutations all provide abundant evidence that the vertebrate cerebellum is organized into modules. We present the case that, as a group, these markers reveal distinct boundaries that partition the cerebellum into true developmental compartments. Although this reductionist viewpoint advances our understanding of cerebellar organization, the relationship between these compartments and the functional behavior of the cerebellum remains a mystery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology*