Organisation of the cerebellar nucleus of the dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula L.: a light microscopic, immunocytochemical, and ultrastructural study.

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Elasmobranchs possess a well-developed cerebellum with an associated cerebellar nucleus. To determine whether the organization of this nucleus is comparable with that of the deep cerebellar nuclei of mammals, we studied the dogfish cerebellar nucleus with light microscopic methods (Nissl stain, Golgi method, reduced silver stain, NADPH-diaphorase histochemistry and immunocytochemistry) and with electron microscopy. We found the dogfish cerebellar nucleus to consist of about 1,050 large neurons, the ratio of Purkinje cells to cerebellar nucleus neurons being about 17:1. Immunocytochemistry showed large glutamatergic neurons in the main portions of the nucleus and small glutamate- and/or alpha-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-immunoreactive cells in the subventricular region of the nucleus. Large glutamatergic neurons corresponded to bipolar or triangular cells revealed by Golgi methods. Application of horseradish peroxidase to the cerebellar cortex produced the labelling of beaded fibres of Purkinje cells in the cerebellar nucleus. Unlike in mammals, GABAergic innervation of the cerebellar nucleus was scare: Purkinje cell axon terminals in the cerebellar nucleus did not appear to be GABA-immunoreactive, most GABAergic fibres being found in the subventricular neuropile. Some fibres immunoreactive to serotonin and somatostatin were also observed in the subventricular neuropile of the cerebellar nucleus. Three neuron types were distinguished with electron microscopy (types A to C). Type A cells were abundant and smooth-surfaced, and appeared to correspond to Golgi-impregnated neurons and large glutamate-immunoreactive cells. Type B neurons were scarce and possessed dendrites covered by sessile or stalked spines. Type C neurons were small cells located mainly in the medialmost region of the nucleus and corresponded to subventricular glutamate- and GABA-immunoreactive cells. Six types of synaptic bouton were observed (types I to VI). The most abundant (type I boutons) made symmetrical contacts and appeared to correspond to Purkinje cell axons. Type I boutons were the only type observed on perikarya and initial axon segments of type A cells. Type IV and type V boutons made complex glomerular-like asymmetrical contacts with spines of type B cells. Type VI boutons appeared to correspond to peptidergic and/or monoaminergic axons. The functional significance of these results is discussed.


Animals, Biological Evolution, Cell Count, Cerebellar Nuclei, Dogfish, Horseradish Peroxidase, Immunohistochemistry, Microscopy, Electron, Nerve Fibers, Neurons, Neurotransmitter Agents, Purkinje Cells, Synaptic Vesicles, Vertebrates

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Animals; Biological Evolution; Cell Count; Cerebellar Nuclei; Dogfish; Horseradish Peroxidase; Immunohistochemistry; Microscopy, Electron; Nerve Fibers; Neurons; Neurotransmitter Agents; Purkinje Cells; Synaptic Vesicles; Vertebrates

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The Journal of comparative neurology







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