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Cerebellum. 2008;7(4):523-9. doi: 10.1007/s12311-008-0079-z.

Development of cerebellar GABAergic interneurons: origin and shaping of the "minibrain" local connections.

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Department of Neuroscience and Rita Levi Montalcini Centre for Brain Repair, National Institute of Neuroscience, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.


The cerebellar circuits comprise a limited number of neuronal phenotypes embedded in a defined cytoarchitecture and generated according to specific spatio-temporal patterns. The local GABAergic network is composed of several interneuron phenotypes that play essential roles in information processing by modulating the activity of cerebellar cortical inputs and outputs. A major issue in the study of cerebellar development is to understand the mechanisms that underlie the generation of different interneuron classes and regulate their placement in the cerebellar architecture and integration in the cortico-nuclear network. Recent findings indicate that the variety of cerebellar interneurons derives from a single population of multipotent progenitors whose fate choices are determined by instructive environmental information. Such a strategy, which is unique for the cerebellum along the neuraxis, allows great flexibility in the control of the quality and quantity of GABAergic interneurons that are produced, thus facilitating the adaptive shaping of the cerebellar network to specific functional demands.

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