Immunocytochemical staining with antibodies to the class III intermediate filament protein peripherin reveals discrete subpopulations of neurons and nerve fibres throughout the rat central nervous system. Some of these fibres enter the cerebellar granular and molecular layers. Here we use light and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry and confocal fluorescence microscopy to identify the peripherin positive fibres in the molecular layer of the cerebella of various mammals. (1) The peripherin positive fibres in the molecular layer have morphological attributes of climbing fibres, and peripherin positive fibres are also detected in the olivo-cerebellar tract. Furthermore peripherin positive neurons can be seen in the inferior olive, from which climbing fibres originate. (2) The peripherin positive molecular layer fibres rapidly degenerate in rats treated with 3-acetylpyridine (3- AP), a reagent which destroys neurons in the inferior olive, and the time course of degeneration of these mirrors that previously described for 3-AP induced destruction of climbing fibres. (3) Cerebella of other mammal species tested (mouse, rabbit, pig, cow and human) revealed a similar peripherin staining pattern in the cerebellum, including fibres in the molecular layer with the morphology of climbing fibres. (4) We also noted peripherin positive spinocerebellar and vestibulocerebellar mossy fibres in the cerebellar granular layer of folia known to receive these inputs. (5) A subset of perivascular nerve fibres are also peripherin positive. These results show that peripherin is a useful marker for mammalian cerebellar climbing fibres, and that a subset of morphologically distinct cerebellar mossy fibres are also peripherin positive.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology