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Brain Res. 2000 Feb 21;856(1-2):202-12.

Morphologic and electrophysiologic maturation in developing dentate gyrus granule cells.

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Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute, Evanston, IL, USA.


Dentate gyrus granule cells from immature (7-28 days) Sprague-Dawley rats were examined with whole cell patch clamp recordings and biocytin filling in in vitro hippocampal slice preparations. Although recordings were confined to the middle third of the suprapyramidal limb of the dentate, the granule cells exhibited marked variability in their physiologic properties: input resistance (IR) ranged from 250 MOmega to 3 GOmega, and resting membrane potential (RMP) from -82 to -41 mV. Both IR and RMP were inversely correlated with dendritic length, a morphometric indicator of cell maturity. Thus the highest IR cells were the youngest, and maturation was characterized by a progressive decrease in IR, hyperpolarization of RMP, and elongation of the dendritic arbor. When cells were grouped by IR, significant intergroup differences were found in RMP, dendritic length, and number of dendritic terminal branches. Although cells of all IR categories were examined throughout the age spectrum under study, none of the inter-IR group differences was age-dependent. These data suggest that IR provides a reasonable estimate of granule cell maturity and that maturation entails predictable changes in cell properties and morphology. These aspects of maturation correlate with each other, are independent of animal age, and most likely proceed according to a program related to cell birth.

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