The cerebellar cortex of normal and Purkinje cell degeneration mutant mice was examined by electron microscopy after fixation with potassium permanganate for the demonstration of small granular vesicles in monoaminergic nerve terminals. In control mice, monoaminergic terminals were found mainly in apposition to Purkinje cell dendrites. After the degeneration of Purkinje cells, which constitute the major target for monoaminergic fibres in the cerebellum, monoaminergic terminals persisted in the cerebellar cortex of Purkinje cell degeneration mutant mice. They were ensheathed by astroglial processes in most of the instances. They were also apposed to boutons that contained agranular vesicles, and to stellate cells in the molecular layer. Clear synaptic specializations in the form of thickening of the synaptic membranes were not observed in either control or mutant mice. It is hypothesized that the survival of monoaminergic axons following loss of their target cells may be attributed to the lack of intimate adhesion to their target elements, to a possible functional interaction with the glia, or to the integrity of the extracerebellar terminal fields of the monoamine axon collaterals.
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