Cell generation and survival are investigated in three different neuronal populations of weaver mice: Purkinje and fastigial neurons in the cerebellum, and dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Tritiated thymidine was supplied to pregnant females at the time that these neurons were being produced. Autoradiography was then applied on brain sections obtained from the control and weaver offspring at postnatal (P) day 8 and 90. This makes it possible to assess the differential survival of neurons that were born at distinct embryonic times on the basis of the proportion of labeled cells at two postnatal ages. When labeling profiles were measured at P8, the inferred time of origin was similar between +/+ and wv/wv genotypes for each neuronal population considered. The same occurred at P90 for Purkinje or fastigial neurons, but the labeling profiles of midbrain neurons were different between wild type and weaver homozygotes. There is already a substantial reduction in the number of Purkinje and fastigial cells at P8, but loss of dopaminergic neurons was only detected in 90-day-old weavers and, therefore, vulnerability is built into this midbrain neural system during its late postnatal development. Our results show that depletion of Purkinje and fastigial cells is random with respect to the time of their birth, whereas the weaver gene seems to be specifically targeting the late-generated dopaminergic neurons. © 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Homozygous weaver mice
- Neurogenetic timetables
- Substantia nigra parts compacta
- [ H]TdR autoradiography 3