Thoughts on the Cerebellum as a Model for Cerebral Cortical Development and Evolution

  1. Gregory R. Bock and
  2. Gail Cardew
  1. Karl Herrup

Published Online: 29 APR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/0470846631.ch2

Evolutionary Developmental Biology of the Cerebral Cortex: Novartis Foundation Symposium 228

Evolutionary Developmental Biology of the Cerebral Cortex: Novartis Foundation Symposium 228

How to Cite

Herrup, K. (2000) Thoughts on the Cerebellum as a Model for Cerebral Cortical Development and Evolution, in Evolutionary Developmental Biology of the Cerebral Cortex: Novartis Foundation Symposium 228 (eds G. R. Bock and G. Cardew), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/0470846631.ch2

Author Information

  1. Department of Neuroscience and University Alzheimer Center of Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2008
  2. Published Print: 22 MAY 2000

Book Series:

  1. Novartis Foundation Symposia

Book Series Editors:

  1. Novartis Foundation

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471979784

Online ISBN: 9780470846636

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Keywords:

  • cerebellum;
  • cerebral cortex;
  • development;
  • organization;
  • reeler;
  • scrambler;
  • gene;
  • evolution

Summary

This chapter explores the prospect of using the cerebellar cortex as a model for the development and evolution of the cerebral neocortex. At first, this would seem a nearly fruitless task given the readily apparent structural and functional differences between the two cortices. Cerebellum and cerebrum perform different associative tasks, the cellular ‘circuit diagram’ of the two structures is different, even the developmental sequences that give rise to the two structures differ markedly. Yet there are similarities between the structures at the conceptual level that are difficult to ignore. Both structures have a relatively simple modular circuitry and achieve their complexity by an increase in either the size or number of the modules. Both have massive commisures connecting the left and right halves of the structure. For the cortex this commisure is the obvious corpus callosum; the cerebellar commisure is less obvious. Consider, however, that the parallel fibres of the granule cells pass freely across the midline, and, as they are thin and unmyelinated, the number of these crossing fibres may well exceed the number of the callosal axons by a significant amount. By far the most obvious similarity between cortex and cerebellum, however, is that they are both topologically sheet-like in structure. They are broad and wide in the two-dimensional plane of the pial membrane with a relatively modest thickness in the radial dimension. The question for this chapter then is whether these similarities, in particular the sheet-like organization, are coincidental or indicative of larger themes that play deeper roles in the development and function of these two seemingly disparate brain regions.