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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 948587, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/948587
Research Article

Comparative Morphology of Dendritic Arbors in Populations of Purkinje Cells in Mouse Sulcus and Apex

1Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan
2University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
3Brain Mechanism for Behavior Unit, 1919-1 Tancha, Onna-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan

Received 14 June 2013; Revised 25 August 2013; Accepted 21 September 2013

Academic Editor: Rachel M. Sherrard

Copyright © 2013 Hermina Nedelescu and Mohamed Abdelhack. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Foliation divides the mammalian cerebellum into structurally distinct subdivisions, including the concave sulcus and the convex apex. Purkinje cell (PC) dendritic morphology varies between subdivisions and changes significantly ontogenetically. Since dendritic morphology both enables and limits sensory-motor circuit function, it is important to understand how neuronal architectures differ between brain regions. This study employed quantitative confocal microcopy to reconstruct dendritic arbors of cerebellar PCs expressing green fluorescent protein and compared arbor morphology between PCs of sulcus and apex in young and old mice. Arbors were digitized from high -resolution (0.25 µm) image stacks using an adaptation of Neurolucida’s (MBF Bioscience) continuous contour tracing tool, designed for drawing neuronal somata. Reconstructed morphologies reveal that dendritic arbors of sulcus and apex exhibit profound differences. In sulcus, 72% of the young PC population possesses two primary dendrites, whereas in apex, only 28% do. Spatial constraints in the young sulcus cause significantly more dendritic arbor overlap than in young apex, a distinction that disappears in adulthood. However, adult sulcus PC arbors develop a greater number of branch crossings. These results suggest developmental neuronal plasticity that enables cerebellar PCs to attain correct functional adult architecture under different spatial constraints.