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Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2005 Feb;48(1):43-56.

Integration of newly born dentate granule cells into adult brains: hypotheses based on normal and epileptic rodents.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.


The granule cells of the dentate gyrus are a population of neurons continuously generated throughout life. In the rat, the morphological development of newly born granule cells generated in the adult share many similarities with granule cells generated during development. These include a specific migration pattern, orientation and progression of neurite outgrowth. It appears as though varied dendritic morphology occurs depending on the position of the granule cells within the granule cell layer. A hypothesis for granule cell migration and differentiation of their dendritic processes is proposed based on normal and epileptic rats. In this hypothesis, the granule cells are generated in the subgranular zone, and then they migrate into the granule cell layer. During this migration, the sequence of neurite outgrowth is described, where the newly born granule cell first sprouts rudimentary processes. One of these processes, the basal dendrite, is transiently present on developing rodent granule cells in rats. However, in seizure-induced rats the basal dendrite often fails to retract, which leads to the formation of hilar basal dendrites, and also perhaps, ectopic granule cells in the hilus. In this review, granule cell development is discussed with relevance to the creation of the recurrent excitatory circuitry in rodent models of temporal lobe epilepsy.

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