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Int J Dev Neurosci. 2010 Aug;28(5):401-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2010.03.004. Epub 2010 Apr 22.

Myelination in the human hippocampal formation from midgestation to adulthood.

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Central Electron Microscopic Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, University of Pécs, 7643 Pécs, Szigeti u. 12, Hungary.


Myelination, one of the last steps of neuronal development, was examined in the human fetal and postnatal hippocampal formation using immunohistochemistry to detect a protein component of the myelin sheath, the myelin basic protein synthesized by oligodendroglial cells. Myelin basic protein-immunoreactive oligodendroglial cells were first seen at the 20th gestational week in the fimbria fornicis and in the alveus. Between the 21st and 35th weeks, myelinated axons also appeared in the fimbria fornicis. At the age of 39 gestational weeks, short and thin myelinated fibers were present in the fimbria, in the alveus, and less so in the stratum oriens of the hippocampus, while the first oligodendroglial cells appeared in the stratum lacunosum-moleculare and in the hilus. By the 2nd postnatal week myelinated fibers appeared in the stratum lacunosum-moleculare of Ammon's horn. At the 3rd month, myelination was strong in the alveus, moderate in the strata oriens, lacunosum-moleculare and radiatum of Ammon's horn, while only a small number of myelinated fibers were detected in the hilus. By the 5th month, the first oligodendroglial cells were detected in the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. Myelination continued in the following years, particularly in the dentate gyrus, where even at the age of 11 years the density of myelinated fibers did not reach the adult level. It appears that the first myelinated axons belong to the long-projecting large hippocampal pyramidal cells and/or to their subcortical and cortical afferents. The sequence of myelination follows the known developmental pattern of hippocampal afferent and efferent pathways, and the prolonged myelination might be a factor in the prolonged functional maturation of hippocampal circuitry.

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