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Neurosci Res. 1996 Oct;26(2):171-9.

Naturally occurring neuronal death during the development of the inferior olive in the chick.

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  • 1Departamento de Ciencias Morfológicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain.


Naturally occurring neuronal death was found by in situ labelling of nuclear DNA fragmentation during the development of the chick inferior olive. Counting neuronal perikarya showed an evident loss of cells from embryonic day 18 to hatching. This reduction in neuronal numbers was followed by an increase of similar size from days 1-4 post-hatching. This biphasic evolution of the neuronal numbers is quite similar to that found in the inferior olive of rodents during the first two weeks of the postnatal life, a period also characterized by definitive synaptogenesis between climbing fibers and Pukinje cells in the cerebellum of the rodents. The similarity in the evolution of neuronal number in the inferior olive of both rodents and chicks, seems to indicate that definitive synaptogenesis between climbing fibers and Purkinje cells might occur from embryonic day 18 to postnatal day 3 in the chick cerebellum. Nevertheless, during the phase of cell loss the climbing fibers of chick have attained a more mature developmental stage than those of the rat. This difference suggests that naturally occurring neuronal death may be independent of the elimination of redundant axonic collaterals during the definitive climbing fibers-Purkinje cell synaptogenesis.

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