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Keywords:

  • Purkinje cells;
  • inferior olive;
  • cerebellar nuclei;
  • aldolase C;
  • rat;
  • chick

Abstract

Many molecules are expressed heterogeneously in subpopulations of cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs) and inferior olive (IO) neurons during development or in adulthood. These expression patterns are often organized in longitudinal stripes in the cerebellar cortex, which may be related to functional compartmentalization. FoxP2, a transcription factor, is expressed in PCs and IO neurons, but the details of its expression pattern remain unclear. Here we examined FoxP2 expression patterns systematically by immunostaining serial sections of the hindbrain from embryonic day 14.5 to adulthood in mice. FoxP2 was highly expressed in virtually all PCs at and before postnatal day 6 (P6), except for those in the flocculus and small parts of the nodulus (vermal lobule X), where FoxP2 expression was moderate or absent. After P6, FoxP2 expression gradually diminished in PCs in some areas. In adults, FoxP2 was expressed, less intensely than in earlier stages, in subsets of PCs that were mostly arranged transversely along the folial apices. In contrast, FoxP2 was expressed intensely in most IO neurons during development and in adulthood. FoxP2 was also expressed in a small population of neurons in the cerebellar nuclei. FoxP2 expression in adult rats and chicks was generally comparable to that in adult mice, suggesting evolutionary conservation of the expression pattern. Thus, the FoxP2 expression pattern reflects new transverse compartmentalization in the adult cerebellar cortex, although its functional significance remains unclear. J. Comp. Neurol. 520:656–677, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.