The cerebellum is critical for motor coordination and cognitive function and is the target of transformation in medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Although the development of granule cells, the most abundant neurons in the cerebellum, has been studied in detail, the origins of other cerebellar neurons and glia remain poorly understood. Here we show that the murine postnatal cerebellum contains multipotent neural stem cells (NSCs). These cells can be prospectively isolated based on their expression of the NSC marker prominin-1 (CD133) and their lack of markers of neuronal and glial lineages (lin-). Purified prominin+lin- cells form self-renewing neurospheres and can differentiate into astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons in vitro. Moreover, they can generate each of these lineages after transplantation into the cerebellum. Identification of cerebellar stem cells has important implications for the understanding of cerebellar development and the origins of medulloblastoma.
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