Astroglial account for the largest glial population in the brain and play a variety of vital functions in the development of the central nervous system (CNS). An immunohistochemical study was performed in 19 ovine foetuses ranging from 2 to 5 months of gestation, one newborn lamb and three adult sheep. Using the anit-glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) marker, several variations were found in the degree of GFAP positive (GFAP+) astrocyte distribution between the different zones in the cerebellum of sheep during brain development. Our study indicates that the first appearance of astrocytes from restricted zones in the cerebellum occurs around the eighth week of gestation. Bergmann cells were found to be present from around the 15th week of gestation onwards. Our findings suggest that the maturation of astrocytes begins in the caudal parts of the cerebellum, developing from their initial ventral regions to spread first to dorsal regions radially within the white matter, then followed by the more rostral parts of the cerebellum. Astrocytes were also found to proliferate in the vermis before appearing in the cerebellar hemispheres.
- Brain development