Inactivating mutations in the human SLC16A2 gene encoding the thyroid hormone transporter monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8) result in the Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome accompanied by severe locomotor deficits. The underlying mechanisms of the associated cerebellar maldevelopment were studied using the chicken as a model. Electroporation of an MCT8-RNAi vector into the cerebellar anlage of a 3-day-old embryo allowed knockdown of MCT8 in Purkinje cell precursors. This resulted in the downregulation of the thyroid hormone-responsive gene ROR? and the Purkinje cell-specific differentiation marker LHX1/5 at day 6. MCT8 knockdown also results in a smaller and less complex dendritic tree at day 18 suggesting a pivotal role of MCT8 for cell-autonomous Purkinje cell maturation. Early administration of the thyroid hormone analogue 3,5,3'-triiodothyroacetic acid partially rescued early Purkinje cell differentiation. MCT8-deficient Purkinje cells also induced non-autonomous effects as they led to a reduced granule cell precursor proliferation, a thinner external germinal layer and a loss of PAX6 expression. By contrast, at day 18, the external germinal layer thickness was increased, with an increase in presence of Axonin-1-positive post-mitotic granule cells in the initial stage of radial migration. The concomitant accumulation of presumptive migrating granule cells in the molecular layer, suggests that inward radial migration to the internal granular layer is stalled. In conclusion, early MCT8 deficiency in Purkinje cells results in both cell-autonomous and non-autonomous effects on cerebellar development and indicates that MCT8 expression is essential from very early stages of development, providing a novel insight into the ontogenesis of the Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome.