Neural - Cerebellum Development

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Developing human cerebellum (1 month postnatal)[1]
Cerebellum structure
Mouse Purkinje neuron[2]

The cerebellum (Latin, ‘little brain’) major role is in role in sensory-motor processing that in the adult human contains more than half of all the brain's neurons. The adult cerebellum anatomy consists of three parts, the vermis (median) and the two hemispheres (lateral), which are continuous with each other.

The adult human cerebellum contains 69,030,000,000 ± 6,650,000,000 (sixty-nine billion thirty million) neurons and 16,040,000,000 ± 2,170,000 other cell types.[3]

"For every neuron added to the cerebral cortex in evolution, four neurons are added to the cerebellum."[4]

Historic Embryology
Santiago Ramón y Cajal
Much of the basic structure of the cerebellum comes the historic histological studies and staining of Ramón Cahal (1852 - 1934) and Camillo Golgi (1843 - 1926). Cahal was a Spanish researcher who used the then new histology Golgi staining techniques to identify the cerebellum cellular structure. His work was a turning point in our understanding of the structure of the brain, that until then had been described as a "syncytium" and not consisting of discrete cellular elements. For this research and other work on defining the structure of the brain he, along with Camillo Golgi (1843 - 1926), received the 1906 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Camillo Golgi  
Camillo Golgi.jpg
Camillo Golgi (1843 - 1926) developed the histology silver staining technique, though is best known today for the cellular organelle that bears his name, the Golgi apparatus.

History - Embryologists

See also the early descriptive studies:


Transverse section of a cerebellar folium.

Historic Embryology
Olof Larsell (1886-1964)

During the 1940's to 50's Olof Larsell (1886-1964) in the USA described cerebellum development in several species[5][6][7][8][9][10], including man.[11][12] He also organized the terminology for the lobes and lobules of the cerebellum.

Larsell was a professor and chair of anatomy at the University of Oregon Medical School.

Neural development is one of the earliest systems to begin and the last to be completed after birth. This development generates the most complex structure within the embryo and the long time period of development means in utero insult during pregnancy may have consequences to development of the nervous system.

Within the neural tube stem cells generate the 2 major classes of cells that make the majority of the nervous system : neurons and glia. Both these classes of cells differentiate into many different types generated with highly specialized functions and shapes. This section covers the establishment of neural populations, the inductive influences of surrounding tissues and the sequential generation of neurons establishing the layered structure seen in the brain and spinal cord.

Neural Links: ectoderm | neural | neural crest | ventricular | sensory | Stage 22 | gliogenesis | neural fetal | Medicine Lecture - Neural | Lecture - Ectoderm | Lecture - Neural Crest | Lab - Early Neural | neural abnormalities | folic acid | iodine deficiency | Fetal Alcohol Syndrome | neural postnatal | neural examination | Histology | Historic Neural | Category:Neural

Neural Parts: neural | prosencephalon | telencephalon cerebrum | amygdala | hippocampus | basal ganglia | diencephalon | epithalamus | thalamus | hypothalamus‎ | pituitary | pineal | mesencephalon | tectum | rhombencephalon | metencephalon | pons | cerebellum | myelencephalon | medulla oblongata | spinal cord | neural vascular | ventricular | lateral ventricles | third ventricle | cerebral aqueduct | fourth ventricle | central canal | meninges | Category:Ventricular System | Category:Neural

Some Recent Findings

  • Morphometric development of the human fetal cerebellum during the early second trimester[13] "The protracted nature of development makes the cerebellum vulnerable to a broad spectrum of pathologic conditions, especially during the early fetal period. This study aims to characterize normal cerebellar growth in human fetuses during the early second trimester. We manually segmented the fetal cerebellum using 7.0-T high-resolution MR images obtained in 35 specimens with gestational ages ranging from 15 to 22 weeks. Volume measurements and shape analysis were performed to quantitatively evaluate global and regional cerebellar growth. The absolute volume of the fetal cerebellum showed a quadratic growth with increasing gestational age, while the pattern of relative volume changes revealed that the cerebellum grew at a greater pace than the cerebrum after 17 gestational weeks. Shape analysis was used to examine the distinctive development of subregions of the cerebellum. The extreme lateral portions of both cerebellar hemispheres showed the lowest rate of growth. The anterior lobe grew faster than most of the posterior lobe. These findings expand our understanding of the early growth pattern of the human cerebellum and could be further used to assess the developmental conditions of the fetal brain."
  • Fetal Growth Restriction Alters Cerebellar Development in Fetal and Neonatal sheep[14] "Fetal growth restriction (FGR) complicates 5-10% of pregnancies and is associated with increased risks of perinatal morbidity and mortality. The development of cerebellar neuropathology in utero, in response to chronic fetal hypoxia, and over the period of high risk for preterm birth, has not been previously studied. ... FGR lambs demonstrated neuropathology within the cerebellum after birth, with a significant, ~18% decrease in the number of granule cell bodies (NeuN+ immunoreactivity) within the internal granular layer (IGL) and an ~80% reduction in neuronal extension and branching (MAP+ immunoreactivity) within the molecular layer (ML). Oxidative stress (8-OHdG+ immunoreactivity) was significantly higher in FGR lambs within the ML and the white matter (WM) compared to control lambs. The structural integrity of neurons was already aberrant in the FGR cerebellum at 115 d GA, and by 124 d GA, inflammatory cells (Iba-1+ immunoreactivity) were significantly upregulated and the blood-brain barrier (BBB) was compromised (Pearls, albumin, and GFAP+ immunoreactivity). We confirm that cerebellar injuries develop antenatally in FGR, and therefore, interventions to prevent long-term motor and coordination deficits should be implemented either antenatally or perinatally, thereby targeting neuroinflammatory and oxidative stress pathways."
  • Bergmann glial Sonic hedgehog signaling activity is required for proper cerebellar cortical expansion and architecture[15] "Neuronal-glial relationships play a critical role in the maintenance of central nervous system architecture and neuronal specification. A deeper understanding of these relationships can elucidate cellular cross-talk capable of sustaining proper development of neural tissues. In the cerebellum, cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNPs) proliferate in response to Purkinje neuron-derived Sonic hedgehog (Shh) before ultimately exiting the cell cycle and migrating radially along Bergmann glial fibers. However, the function of Bergmann glia in CGNP proliferation remains not well defined. Interestingly, the Hh pathway is also activated in Bergmann glia, but the role of Shh signaling in these cells is unknown. In this study, we show that specific ablation of Shh signaling using the tamoxifen-inducible TNCYFP-CreER line to eliminate Shh pathway activator Smoothened in Bergmann glia is sufficient to cause severe cerebellar hypoplasia and a significant reduction in CGNP proliferation. TNCYFP-CreER; SmoF/- (SmoCKO) mice demonstrate an obvious reduction in cerebellar size within two days of ablation of Shh signaling. Mutant cerebella have severely reduced proliferation and increased differentiation of CGNPs due to a significant decrease in Shh activity and concomitant activation of Wnt signaling in SmoCKO CGNPs, suggesting that this pathway is involved in cross-talk with the Shh pathway in regulating CGNP proliferation. In addition, Purkinje cells are ectopically located, their dendrites stunted, and the Bergmann glial network disorganized. Collectively, these data demonstrate a previously unappreciated role for Bergmann glial Shh signaling activity in the proliferation of CGNPs and proper maintenance of cerebellar architecture." SHH
  • The modular architecture and neurochemical patterns in the cerebellar cortex[16] "The review deals with topical issues of the neuronal arrangement underlying basic cerebellar functions. The cerebellum and its auxiliary structures contain several hundreds of modules (so called "microzones"). Each module receives the corticopetal input specific for the lobule it belongs to and forms the topographic projection. The precision of the major input-output signal flow in the cerebellar cortex is provided by a pronounced stratification of its synaptic zones of a various origin and regular topography of its afferent connections, interneurons, and efferent neurons. There is a nice match between the anatomical and functional coordinates of the modules, whose spatial boundaries are determined by the spread of afferent excitation and local interneuron connections. The dynamic characteristics of the modules are analyzed by the example of the formation of the nitrergic neuron ensembles and cerebellar projections of corticopetal fibers. The authors discuss the cerebellar blood flow and its relation to the activity of NO/GABAergic Lugaro cells and other interneurons in the cerebellar cortex."
More recent papers  
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More? References | Discussion Page | Journal Searches | 2019 References | 2020 References

Search term: Cerebellum Development | Cerebellum Embryology | Purkinje cell Development | Bergmann glia | Dentate Nucleus Development | Fastigial Nucleus Development | Interposed Nuclei Development | Vestibular Nuclei Development | Dandy-Walker Syndrome | Foliation Defects | Joubert Syndrome | Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia | Medulloblastoma

Older papers  
These papers originally appeared in the Some Recent Findings table, but as that list grew in length have now been shuffled down to this collapsible table.

See also the Discussion Page for other references listed by year and References on this current page.

  • Pre- and Postnatal Neuroimaging of Congenital Cerebellar Abnormalities[17] "The human cerebellum has a protracted development that makes it vulnerable to a broad spectrum of developmental disorders including malformations and disruptions. Starting from 19 to 20 weeks of gestation, prenatal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can reliably study the developing cerebellum. Pre- and postnatal neuroimaging plays a key role in the diagnostic work-up of congenital cerebellar abnormalities. Diagnostic criteria for cerebellar malformations and disruptions are based mostly on neuroimaging findings. The diagnosis of a Dandy-Walker malformation is based on the presence of hypoplasia, elevation, and counterclockwise upward rotation of the cerebellar vermis and cystic dilatation of the fourth ventricle, which extends posteriorly filling out the posterior fossa. For the diagnosis of Joubert syndrome, the presence of the molar tooth sign (thickened, elongated, and horizontally orientated superior cerebellar peduncles and an abnormally deep interpeduncular fossa) is needed. The diagnostic criteria of rhombencephalosynapsis include a complete or partial absence of the cerebellar vermis and continuity of the cerebellar hemispheres across the midline. Unilateral cerebellar hypoplasia is defined by the complete aplasia or hypoplasia of one cerebellar hemisphere." MRI
  • Calm1 signaling pathway is essential for the migration of mouse precerebellar neurons.[18] "Calmodulin (CaM is encoded by three non-allelic CaM (Calm) genes (Calm1, Calm2 and Calm3), which produce an identical protein with no amino acid substitutions. We found that these CaM genes are expressed in migrating PCNs. When the expression of CaM from this multigene family was inhibited by RNAi-mediated acute knockdown, inhibition of Calm1 but not the other two genes caused defective PCN migration. Many PCNs treated with Calm1 shRNA failed to complete their circumferential tangential migration and thus failed to reach their prospective target position. Those that did reach the target position failed to invade the depth of the hindbrain through the required radial migration. Overall, our results suggest the participation of CaM in both the tangential and radial migration of PCNs."
  • Abnormal cerebellar development and Purkinje cell defects in Lgl1-Pax2 conditional knockout mice[19] "Lgl1 was initially identified as a tumour suppressor in flies and is characterised as a key regulator of epithelial polarity and asymmetric cell division. ...Consistent with this abnormal behaviour, homozygous mice possessed a smaller cerebellum with fewer lobes, reduced granule precursor cell (GPC) proliferation, decreased Purkinje cell (PC) quantity and dendritic dysplasia. Loss of Lgl1 in the cerebellum led to hyperproliferation and impaired differentiation of neural progenitors in ventricular zone."
  • Ectopic cerebellar cell migration causes maldevelopment of Purkinje cells and abnormal motor behaviour in Cxcr4 null mice.[20] "SDF-1/CXCR4 signalling plays an important role in neuronal cell migration and brain development. ...Together, these results suggest ectopic migration of granule cells impairs development of Purkinje cells, causes gross cerebellar anatomical disruption and leads to behavioural motor defects in Cxcr4 null mice."
  • Preterm delivery disrupts the developmental program of the cerebellum[1] "A rapid growth in human cerebellar development occurs in the third trimester, which is impeded by preterm delivery. ...We report that premature birth and development in an ex-utero environment leads to a significant decrease in the thickness and an increase in the packing density of the cells within the external granular layer and the inner granular layer well, as a reduction in the density of bergmann glial fibres. In addition, this also leads to a reduced expression of sonic hedgehog in the purkinje layer. We conclude that the developmental program of the cerebellum is specifically modified by events that follow preterm delivery." preterm birth
  • Ontogeny-recapitulating generation and tissue integration of ES cell-derived Purkinje cells[21] "Purkinje cells are the sole output neurons of the cerebellar cortex and their dysfunction causes severe ataxia. We found that Purkinje cells could be robustly generated from mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells by recapitulating the self-inductive signaling microenvironments of the isthmic organizer."

Development Overview

Neuralation begins at the trilaminar embryo with formation of the notochord and somites, both of which underly the ectoderm and do not contribute to the nervous system, but are involved with patterning its initial formation. The central portion of the ectoderm then forms the neural plate that folds to form the neural tube, that will eventually form the entire central nervous system.

Early developmental sequence: Epiblast - Ectoderm - Neural Plate - Neural groove and Neural Crest - Neural Tube and Neural Crest
Neural Tube Development
Neural Tube Primary Vesicles Secondary Vesicles Adult Structures
week 3 week 4 week 5 adult
neural plate
neural groove
neural tube

prosencephalon (forebrain) telencephalon Rhinencephalon, Amygdala, hippocampus, cerebrum (cortex), hypothalamus‎, pituitary | Basal Ganglia, lateral ventricles
diencephalon epithalamus, thalamus, Subthalamus, pineal, posterior commissure, pretectum, third ventricle
mesencephalon (midbrain) mesencephalon tectum, Cerebral peduncle, cerebral aqueduct, pons
rhombencephalon (hindbrain) metencephalon cerebellum
myelencephalon medulla oblongata, isthmus
spinal cord, pyramidal decussation, central canal
Human embryo neural groove (Carnegie stage 10)
Neural groove closing to neural tube, early week 4
(Stage 10)

The following text description is from a study of 20 human embryos and fetuses between 6 weeks to 16 weeks from the Madrid Collection.[22]

  • 6 weeks (CRL 12–16 mm) - anlage of the cerebellum was first identified as a pair of thickenings on the lateral site of the alar plate that faced the fourth ventricle.
  • 7-9 weeks (CRL 28 mm) - rhombic lip (a pair of thickenings of the alar plate) protruded dorsally, bent laterally, extended ventrolaterally and fused with the medially located midbrain. During that process, the primitive choroid plexus appeared to become involved in the cerebellar hemisphere to form a centrally located eosinophilic matrix. At that stage, the inferior olive had already developed in the thick medulla. Thus, the term 'bulbo-pontine extension' may represent an erroneous labeling of a caudal part of the rhombic lip. The cerebellar vermis developed much later than the hemisphere possibly from a midline dark cell cluster near the aqueduct.
  • 11–12 weeks (CRL 70–90 mm) - cerebellar hemisphere became as thick as the mid- brain. In the hemisphere, a laminar configuration became evident but the central eosinophilic matrix remained pres- ent. Fissures of the future vermis appeared in the midline area (Fig. 6): the developing fissures provided island-like structures in horizontal sections. The hemisphere and ver- mis, including the surfaces of the fissures, were covered by the external germinal cell layer.
  • 15–16 weeks (CRL 110–130 mm) - cerebellar hemisphere contained the primitive dentate nucleus. The nodule and flocculus were identified, vermis became as thick as the hemisphere and it accompanied several deep fissures.

Early Brain Vesicles

Primary Vesicles Secondary Vesicles
CNS primary vesicles.jpg CNS secondary vesicles.jpg
week 3 to 4 week 5 +

Embryonic Cerebellum

Week 4

Human Stage13 sagittal upper half02.jpg This midline section through the upper half of the embryo shows the 3 primary vesicle regions (unlabeled image).

The cerebellum will develop from the hindbrain (rhombencephalon) region.

Adjacent to the forth ventricle (see as the enlarged dark dorsal region).

Human Embryo (Carnegie stage 13) 28 - 32 days.

Week 8

Carnegie stage 21
Human Stage21 neural01.jpg Human Stage21 neural02.jpg
lateral view (scale bar 1 mm) Median view

Fetal Cerebellum

Week 10

Human- fetal week 10 cerebellum A.jpg Human- fetal week 10 cerebellum B.jpg
Plane A (midline) Plane B (medial)
Human- fetal week 10 cerebellum C.jpg Human- fetal week 10 cerebellum D.jpg
Plane C (lateral) Plane D (most lateral)

Links: 10 week Fetal | Fetal Development

Third Trimester

Developing human cerebellum 01.jpg

Developing human cerebellum preterm[1]

A greater EGL cell density and reduced EGL thickness were reported in preterms with ex-utero exposure, as compared to their age matched stillborn controls.

Cerebellar Cells

These drawings of cerebellar cells were based upon electron micrograph images from the rat cerebellum.[23]

Purkinje Cell

Search: Purkinje cell Development

Historic Description

Gray H. Anatomy of the human body. (1918) Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger.

"The cerebellum is developed in the roof of the anterior part of the hind-brain (Figs. 649 to 654). The alar laminæ of this region become thickened to form two lateral plates which soon fuse in the middle line and produce a thick lamina which roofs in the upper part of the cavity of the hind-brain vesicle; this constitutes the rudiment of the cerebellum, the outer surface of which is originally smooth and convex. The fissures of the cerebellum appear first in the vermis and floccular region, and traces of them are found during the third month; the fissures on the cerebellar hemispheres do not appear until the fifth month. The primitive fissures are not developed in the order of their relative size in the adult—thus the horizontal sulcus in the fifth month is merely a shallow groove. The best marked of the early fissures are: (a) the fissura prima between the developing culmen and declive, and (b) the fissura secunda between the future pyramid and uvula. The flocculus and nodule are developed from the rhombic lip, and are therefore recognizable as separate portions before any of the other cerebellar lobules. The groove produced by the bending over of the rhombic lip is here known as the floccular fissure; when the two lateral walls fuse, the right and left floccular fissures join in the middle line and their central part becomes the post-nodular fissure."
Transverse section of a cerebellar folium. (Cajal)

Researcher timeline based on a recent review on cerebellum[24]

  • Rolando - role in movement control
  • Flourens - role in movement coordination
  • Purkinje (1837) - histology of the cerebellar cortex
  • Luciani (1891) - cerebellum has a tonic facilitating effect on central structures
  • Bolk (1906) - localization for coordinating action on the motor system (medio-lateral organization)
  • Cajal - histology of cortex circuitry
  • Eccles and Ito - inhibitory interneurons and the Purkinje cells, excitatory connections of mossy and climbing afferents and granule cells
  • Babinski and Holmes - anatomoclinical insights
  • Marr and Albus - theories involving cognition and emotion
  • Leiners and Dow
  • Magnus - cerebellum no role in body posture

Precerebellar Neurons

Precerebellar neurons (PCNs) are born in the hindbrain alar plate in the specific region called the rhombic lip (for review see[25]). From there they migrate by a process termed nucleokinesis[26], extending a cytoplasmic process then move their nucleus.

In recent years a number of different chemotactic positive and negative factors have been suggested to have a role in driving the guided migration of these cells. Many signals are thought to be mediated through the Rho family GTPases links to the cytoskeleton.

  • netrin-1[27]
  • Slit
  • Nr-CAM
  • Calm1 signaling pathway[18]

Cerebellar Nuclei

Cerebellar Nuclei
Fastigial Nucleus
Most medially located of the cerebellar nuclei. Receives input from the vermis and cerebellar afferents that carry vestibular, proximal somatosensory, auditory and visual information.
Interposed Nuclei
Consists of emboliform nucleus and globose nucleus. Interposed nuclei are situated laterally with respect to the fastigial nucleus. Receives input from intermediate zone and cerebellar afferents that carry spinal, proximal somatosensory, auditory and visual information.
Dentate Nucleus
Largest of the cerebellar nuclei. Lateral to interposed nuclei. Receives input from lateral hemisphere and cerebellar afferents that carry information from cerebral cortex.
Vestibular Nuclei
Located outside cerebellum in the medulla. Considered to be cerebellar nuclei as their connectivity patterns are identical to those of cerebellar nuclei. Receive input from flocculonodular lobe and from the vestibular labyrinth.
Links: cerebellum

Cerebellar Pathways

Mouse cerebellum connections 01.jpg (A) Regions that send input to the cerebellum.

Abbreviations: AMG, amygdala; BG, basal ganglia; ECN, external cuneate nucleus; HIP, hippocampus; HYP; hypothalamus; IO, inferior olive; LC, locus coeruleus; PAG, periaqueductal gray; PN, pontine nuclei; RET, reticular nucleus; RN, red nucleus; SC, spinal cord; SUP, superior colliculi; TH, thalamus; VN, vestibular nuclei.

(B) Regions that receive information from the cerebellum. Note that the TH is a major relay station for cerebellar input to the cortex while the PN is the primary gateway for cerebral cortical input to the cerebellum.

Cerebellum connections to the brain and spinal cord (mouse).[28]


  • Calm1 - signaling pathway is essential for the migration of mouse precerebellar neurons.[18]
  • Merlin - impacts on cerebellar pre- and post-synaptic terminal organisation, not the overall cerebellar development.[29]
  • sonic hedgehog - signaling by Bergmann glia is required for proper cerebellar cortical expansion and architecture.[15]


Dandy-Walker Syndrome

Dandy-Walker Syndrome/Malformation (DWS) is a cerebellar hypoplasia and upward rotation of the cerebellar vermis with ventricular enlargement (cystic dilation of the fourth ventricle). Named in 1954 after the earlier identification by Walter Dandy (1914) and Arthur Earl Walker (1942), two USA neurosurgeons.

Walter Dandy (1886 – 1946) Arthur Earl Walker (1907 – 1995).

International Classification of Diseases Q03 Congenital hydrocephalus Incl.: hydrocephalus in newborn Excl.: Arnold-Chiari syndrome (Q07.0) hydrocephalus: acquired (G91.-) due to congenital toxoplasmosis (P37.1) with spina bifida (Q05.0-Q05.4)

  • Q03.0 Malformations of aqueduct of Sylvius Aqueduct of Sylvius: anomaly obstruction, congenital stenosis
  • Q03.1 Atresia of foramina of Magendie and Luschka Dandy-Walker syndrome
Links: MP4 movie | Neural Abnormalities | Cerebellum Development | Ultrasound | OMIM - Dandy-Walker Syndrome | Movies
US Dandy-Walker 01.jpg
Page | Play

Foliation Defects

Mouse cerebellar foliation defects.jpg

Mouse Cerebellar Foliation Defects[30]

(A–B) Midsagittal sections of newborn (P0) wild-type and Mdm2puro/Δ7-9 cerebella stained with H&E. (C–D) Superimposition of P0 (purple outline), P7 (blue outline), and adult (green outline) cerebella from wild-type (C) or Mdm2puro/Δ7-9 (D) mice. By P7, all four primary fissures, as well as two additional fissures, are evident in Mdm2puro/Δ7-9 mice. Moreover, even in adulthood, the mutant cerebellum does not reach the size or complexity of the wild-type cerebellum. Abbreviations are: prc, precentral; pc, pre-culminate; pr, primary; pp, prepyramidal; sec, secondary; pl, posterolateral fissures.

Joubert Syndrome

Joubert syndrome (Joubert-Boltshauser syndrome, Cerebelloparenchymal disorder 4, Cerebellar vermis agenesis) is a rare disease of the cerebellum. Identified as a ciliopathy, characterized by the absence or underdevelopment of the cerebellar vermis, that controls balance and coordination. There is also malformation of the stem, connecting the brain and spinal cord. A recent super-resolution microscopy study has shown that the syndrome is caused by disruption of the ciliary transition-zone architecture. [31] Ciliopathies are a class of cell abnormalities that can be caused by mutations in components of the cellular transition zone, a domain near the base of the cilium, that controls the protein composition of its membrane.

  • hypotonia - weak muscle tone
  • ataxia - difficulty coordinating movements
  • hyperpnea - episodes of fast breathing (improves with age and usually disappears around 6 months of age)
  • oculomotor apraxia - difficulty moving the eyes from side to side.
  • language and motor skills
  • mild to severe intellectual disability
  • distinctive facial features - broad forehead, arched eyebrows, droopy eyelids (ptosis), widely spaced eyes, low-set ears, and a triangular-shaped mouth.

Links: NIH - Rare Diseases

Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia

Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia (MRI)[32]

Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia (PCH) are very rare, inherited progressive neurodegenerative disorders with prenatal onset (for recent review see[32]). The major features are: hypoplasia or atrophy of cerebellum and pons, progressive microcephaly, and variable cerebral involvement. There is a further classification of 7 different subtypes (PCH1-7) and there is prenatal testing for the related inherited mutations.

  • PCH2, PCH4, PCH5 - Mutations in the 3 tRNA splicing endonuclease subunit genes.
  • PCH6 - Mutations in the nuclear encoded mitochondrial arginyl- tRNA synthetase gene.
  • PCH1 - Mutations in the tRNA splicing endonuclease, the mitochondrial arginyl- tRNA synthetase and the vaccinia related kinase1.


Medulloblastomas are the most common childhood primary central nervous system tumour (in children). They are thought to arise in the developing cerebellum from the precursors of the granule cell. A recent PNAS paper has suggested a role for SHH pathway in development of this disease.

Modeling SHH-driven medulloblastoma with patient iPS cell-derived neural stem cells DOI

"Here we describe and utilize a model of medulloblastoma, a malignancy accounting for 20% of all childhood brain cancers. We used iPS-derived neural stem cells with a familial mutation causing aberrant SHH signaling. We show that these cells, when transplanted into mouse cerebellum, form tumors that mimics SHH-driven medulloblastoma, demonstrating the development of cancer from healthy neural stem cells in vivo. Our results show that reprogramming of somatic cells carrying familial cancer mutations can be used to model the initiation and progression of childhood cancer."


Rhombencephalosynapsis (RES) is a unique cerebellar malformation characterized by fusion of the cerebellar hemispheres with partial or complete absence of a recognizable cerebellar vermis.[33]

  • craniofacial features - prominent forehead, flat midface, hypertelorism, ear abnormalities
  • somatic malformations - heart, kidney, spine, and limb defects.

Brain Function

A recent consensus paper on experimental neurostimulation of the cerebellum suggests that this may be a target for symptomatic alleviation a number of neurological conditions.[34] These neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions include:ataxia, dystonia, essential tremor, Parkinson's disease (PD), epilepsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, autism spectrum disorders, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and schizophrenia.


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  • Bergmann glia - a cerebellar radial glial population that in development act as scaffolds for the radial migration of granule cell precursors from the external germinal layer (EGL or outer granular layer) to the inner granular cell layer (IGL).
  • cerebellar nuclei - clusters of glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons located in the cerebellar white matter that are the synaptic targets of the majority of Purkinje cells. Projection neurons within nuclei account for the output of the cerebellum. Cerebellar nuclei are often termed ‘deep’ although the designation is superfluous.
  • External Germinal Layer - (EGL or outer granular layer) a developmental transient layer that is lost following granule cell migration.
  • Granule cell - neurons in the internal granule layer that receive excitatory inputs from mossy fibres, that originate in the pons, medulla and spinal cord. These glutamatergic excitatory neutrons receive local inhibitory inputs from Golgi neurons. Granule cells axons are T-shaped and extend into the molecular layer synapsing on Purkinje cell dendrites.
  • Inner Granular Layer - (IGL) granule neurons (granule cell) lies deep to the Purkinje cell layer.
  • Purkinje cell - neurons located in the cerebellar cortex that receive excitatory inputs from granule cell parallel fibres and inhibitory input from climbing fibres of the inferior olive. These GABAergic inhibitory neurons axons mainly extend to the deep cerebellar nuclei, some axons also directly innervate hindbrain vestibular targets.

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Keith A. Human Embryology and Morphology. (1902) London: Edward Arnold.

The Hind Brain

Bradley OC. The mammalian cerebellum: its lobes and fissures. (1904) J Anat Physiol. 38(4): 448-475. PMID17232617

Gray H. Anatomy of the human body. (1918) Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger.

Bailey FR. and Miller AM. Text-Book of Embryology (1921) New York: William Wood and Co. The Cerebellum

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