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Age-dependent dormant resident progenitors are stimulated by injury to regenerate Purkinje neurons

Bayin, N;Wojcinski, A;Mourton, A;Saito, H;Suzuki, N;Joyner, A;

Outside of the neurogenic niches of the brain, postmitotic neurons have not been found to undergo efficient regeneration. Here we demonstrate that Purkinje cells (PCs), which are born at midgestation and are crucial for both development and function of cerebellar circuits, are rapidly and fully regenerated following their ablation at birth. New PCs are produced by a previously unidentified progenitor population and support normal cerebellum development. The number of PC progenitors and their regenerative capacity, however, diminish soon after birth, and consequently PCs are poorly replenished when ablated at postnatal day 5. Nevertheless, the PC-depleted cerebella reach a normal size by increasing cell size, but scaling of neuron types is disrupted and cerebellar function is impaired. Our findings thus provide a new paradigm in the field of neuron regeneration by identifying a unipotent neural progenitor that buffers against perinatal brain injury in a stage-dependent process.