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Prog Brain Res. 2007;163:167-81.

Morphological development and maturation of granule neuron dendrites in the rat dentate gyrus.

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Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.


The first granule neurons in the dentate gyrus are born during late embryogenesis in the rodent, and the primary period of granule cell neurogenesis continues into the second postnatal week. On the day of birth in the rat, the oldest granule neurons are visible in the suprapyramidal blade and exhibit rudimentary dendrites extending into the molecular layer. Here we describe the morphological development of the dendritic trees between birth and day 14, and we then review the process of dendritic remodeling that occurs after the end of the second week. Data indicate that the first adult-like granule neurons are present on day 7, and, furthermore, physiological recordings demonstrate that some granule neurons are functional at this time. Taken together, these results suggest that the dentate gyrus may be incorporated into the hippocampal circuit as early as the end of the first week. The dendritic trees of the granule neurons, however, continue to increase in size until day 14. After that time, the dendritic trees of the oldest granule neurons are sculpted and refined. Some dendrites elongate while others are lost, resulting in a conservation of total dendritic length. We end this chapter with a review of the quantitative aspects of granule cell dendrites in the adult rat and a discussion of the relationship between the morphology of a granule neuron and the location of its cell body within stratum granulosum and along the transverse axis of the dentate gyrus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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