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J Neurosci. 1999 Jun 1;19(11):4508-19.

Inhibition of dentate granule cell neurogenesis with brain irradiation does not prevent seizure-induced mossy fiber synaptic reorganization in the rat.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


Aberrant reorganization of dentate granule cell axons, the mossy fibers, occurs in human temporal lobe epilepsy and rodent epilepsy models. Whether this plasticity results from the remodeling of preexisting mossy fibers or instead reflects an abnormality of developing dentate granule cells is unknown. Because these neurons continue to be generated in the adult rodent and their production increases after seizures, mossy fibers that arise from either developing or mature granule cells are potential substrates for this network plasticity. Therefore, to determine whether seizure-induced, mossy fiber synaptic reorganization arises from either developing or mature granule cell populations, we used low-dose, whole-brain x-irradiation to eliminate proliferating dentate granule cell progenitors in adult rats. A single dose of 5 Gy irradiation blocked cell proliferation and eliminated putative progenitor cells in the dentate subgranular proliferative zone. Irradiation 1 d before pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus significantly attenuated dentate granule cell neurogenesis after seizures. Two irradiations, 1 d before and 4 d after status epilepticus, essentially abolished dentate granule cell neurogenesis but failed to prevent mossy fiber reorganization in the dentate molecular layer. These results indicate that dentate granule cell neurogenesis in the mature hippocampal formation is vulnerable to the effects of low-dose ionizing irradiation. Furthermore, the development of aberrant mossy fiber remodeling in the absence of neurogenesis suggests that mature dentate granule cells contribute substantially to seizure-induced network reorganization.

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