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Morphological and neurochemical differentiation of large granular layer interneurons in the adult rat cerebellum.

FJ Geurts, J Timmermans, R Shigemoto, E De Schutter

Laboratory of Cell Biology and Histology, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020, Antwerp, Belgium.

Neuroscience 104:499-512 (2001)

Abstract - The granular layer of the cerebellar cortex consists of densely packed neuronal cells, classified into granule cells and large interneurons. In this study, we provide a comparative survey of large granular layer interneurons in the adult rat cerebellum based on both morphological and neurochemical criteria. To this end, double immunofluorescence histochemistry was performed by combining antibodies against the cytoplasmic antigen Rat-303, calretinin, the metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR2 and somatostatin. Based on Rat-303/calretinin double immunohistochemistry, three distinct populations of large granular layer interneurons could be discerned: cells immunopositive for Rat-303, calretinin or both. Rat-303 or calretinin single-labeled cells represented Golgi cells and unipolar brush cells, respectively. Rat-303/calretinin double-labeled cells located just underneath the Purkinje cell layer represented Lugaro cells. Morphometrical analysis distinguished two populations of Rat-303-positive Golgi cells according to their location: vermis versus hemisphere. Immunostaining for the metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR2 combined with Rat-303 or calretinin revealed that the majority of Golgi cells (about 90%) appeared to be mGluR2 positive. Lugaro cells were mGluR2 negative. In addition, a limited population of large polymorphous interneurons in the depth of the granular layer with morphological features resembling Golgi cells also displayed Rat-303/calretinin immunoreactivity and were mGluR2 negative. Double immunohistochemistry for Rat-303 and somatostatin revealed three populations of labeled cells in the depth of the granular layer. Besides double-labeled Golgi cells, Rat-303 or somatostatin single-labeled cells were present. Based on mGluR2/somatostatin and calretinin/somatostatin double immunostainings, Rat-303 single-labeled cells were found to correspond to Rat-303/calretinin-positive, mGluR2-negative Golgi-like cells, while the identity of somatostatin single-labeled cells remained unclear.The data presented in this article elaborate previous reports on the morphological and neurochemical differentiation of large interneurons in the rat cerebellar granular layer. In addition, they indicate that the current classification of these cells into Golgi cells, Lugaro cells and unipolar brush cells does not describe the observed neurochemical heterogeneity.

PMID: 11377850 [PubMed]