Cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) isolated from the rat are often used as a model system for the analysis of activity-dependent survival of neurons. These cells do not survive in culture without addition of a depolarizing agent (KCl or glutamate) to the medium. However, it has been reported that mouse CGN behave differently. Here we found that the requirement for depolarization for the survival of the mouse CGN was strain-dependent, which may be important for future analyses using transgenic animals. CGNs from the Balb/C mouse could survive without KCl addition, whereas CGNs from the C57Bl/6 mouse could not (similar to the rat CGN). The survival-promoting activity of the Balb/C mouse CGNs was transferable by coculturing. However, the medium of the Balb/C mouse CGN culture was ineffective, suggesting that the neurotrophic substance that is supposed to be released is labile. Although we are yet to specify the substance, it might be independent of neurotrophins. It is necessary to select the strain of mouse in the production of transgenic animals for the analyses of activity-dependent neuronal survival.