Time course of cerebellar morphological development in postnatal ferrets: Ontogenetic and comparative perspectives.

Maria Christensson, Jonas Broman, Martin Garwicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We provide the first systematic description of the morphological ontogenesis of the ferret cerebellum and compare its relative time-course to that of the rat cerebellum. Overall cerebellar size, foliation, and thickness of cortical layers were quantified and Purkinje cell morphology was characterized at 24 timepoints in ferrets from postnatal day (P)1 to P63. The ferret cerebellum was substantially larger than that of the rat and had a much longer developmental period. In ferrets, Purkinje cells were dispersed into a monolayer by P9, the formation of folia declined abruptly around P20, and the external granular layer peaked in thickness around P22 and disappeared by P56. Timepoints of corresponding relative developmental maturity of the quantified architectural features of rat and ferret cerebella were determined and their relationship was analyzed by linear regression. The time-conversion equation derived, describing the relationship between cerebellar morphogenesis in the two species, had a determination coefficient (r2) of 0.95. Conspicuously, the equation predicted with high accuracy the timing of structural changes in individual Purkinje cells in the ferret cerebellum. The conversion equation should be useful for precise quantitative translation of data between studies of ferret and rat cerebellum and for comparisons between development of motor and sensory structures and functions in ferrets. The degree of similarity in the time-courses of cerebellar development in two distantly related mammals makes explicit in quantitative terms how remarkably conserved the cerebellum is in phylogenesis. Therefore, the methodology should be applicable to precise quantitative conversions of cerebellar developmental time-courses also between other species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)916-930
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Neurology

Free keywords

  • Purkinje cell
  • EGL
  • rat
  • phylogenesis
  • motor development


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