Natural apoptosis in developing mice dopamine midbrain neurons and vermal Purkinje cells

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Natural cell death by apoptosis was studied in two neuronal populations of BALB/c, C57BL/6 and B6CBA-Aw-j/A hybrid stock mice: (I) dopaminergic (DA) neurons in choosing coronal levels throughout the anteroposterior extent of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc), and (II) Purkinje cells (PCs) in each vermal lobe of the cerebellar cortex. Mice were collected at postnatal day (P) 2 and P14 for the midbrain study, and at P4 and P7 for the analysis of the cerebellum. No DA cells with morphologic criteria for apoptosis were found. Moreover, when the combination of tyrosine hydroxylase and TUNEL or tyrosine hydroxylase and active caspase-3 immunohistochemistry were performed in the same tissue section, no DA cells TUNEL positives or active caspase-3-stained DA neurons were seen. On the other hand, when PCs were considered, data analysis revealed that more dying PCs were observed at P4 than at P7. Values of neuron death were highest in the central lobe; this was followed by the posterior and anterior lobes and then by the inferior lobe. To determine if apoptotic death of PCs is linked to their time-of-origin profiles, pregnant dams were administered with [3H]TdR on embryonic days 11-12, 12-13, 13-14 and 14-15. When TUNEL and [3H]TdR autoradiography or active caspase-3 immunohistochemistry and [3H]TdR autoradiography were combined in the same tissue section, results reveal that the naturally occurring PC death is not related to its time of origin but, rather, is random across age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-189
JournalFolia Neuropathologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Apoptosis
  • Cerebellar cortex
  • Dopamine
  • Neurogenetic timetables
  • Postnatal
  • Purkinje cells
  • Substantia nigra pars compacta

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