The basket and stellate cells of the ‘nervous’ mouse cerebellum lose 50% of their presynaptic parallel fibres and more than 90% of Purkinje cells, their major postsynaptic targets, after postnatal day 23. To study the fate of these molecular layer cells we examined the cerebellum of the mutant mouse ‘nervous’ with antisera against the ‘marker protein’ parvalbumin, which exclusively tags Purkinje, basket, and stellate cells. Ten homocygous ‘nervous’ mice, 12–14 weeks old, and 30 control animals of several inbred strains were examined. The number of basket and stellate cells decreased in affected areas of the molecular layer. In addition, parvaibumin-positive cells were detected in the granular layer, in the white matter of the cerebellum and in the area of the cerebellar peduncles of all ‘nervous’ mice, but not in those of the control animals. These cells mainly occurred in areas which still displayed degenerating Purkinje cell axons. Ectopic parvaibumin-positive cells could either represent a class of interneurons, which have changed their antigenetic properties, and therefore happen to stain with antisera against parvalbumin, or stratum moleculare cells which have failed to recognise their proper position during ontogenesis. Alternatively these cells could represent postdevelopmental basket cells, which have acquired the ability to migrate.

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