Send to

Choose Destination
Hippocampus. 2015 May;25(5):594-604. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22396. Epub 2014 Dec 26.

Surviving mossy cells enlarge and receive more excitatory synaptic input in a mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy.

Author information

Department of Comparative Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California.


Numerous hypotheses of temporal lobe epileptogenesis have been proposed, and several involve hippocampal mossy cells. Building on previous hypotheses we sought to test the possibility that after epileptogenic injuries surviving mossy cells develop into super-connected seizure-generating hub cells. If so, they might require more cellular machinery and consequently have larger somata, elongate their dendrites to receive more synaptic input, and display higher frequencies of miniature excitatory synaptic currents (mEPSCs). To test these possibilities pilocarpine-treated mice were evaluated using GluR2-immunocytochemistry, whole-cell recording, and biocytin-labeling. Epileptic pilocarpine-treated mice displayed substantial loss of GluR2-positive hilar neurons. Somata of surviving neurons were 1.4-times larger than in controls. Biocytin-labeled mossy cells also were larger in epileptic mice, but dendritic length per cell was not significantly different. The average frequency of mEPSCs of mossy cells recorded in the presence of tetrodotoxin and bicuculline was 3.2-times higher in epileptic pilocarpine-treated mice as compared to controls. Other parameters of mEPSCs were similar in both groups. Average input resistance of mossy cells in epileptic mice was reduced to 63% of controls, which is consistent with larger somata and would tend to make surviving mossy cells less excitable. Other intrinsic physiological characteristics examined were similar in both groups. Increased excitatory synaptic input is consistent with the hypothesis that surviving mossy cells develop into aberrantly super-connected seizure-generating hub cells, and soma hypertrophy is indirectly consistent with the possibility of axon sprouting. However, no obvious evidence of hyperexcitable intrinsic physiology was found. Furthermore, similar hypertrophy and hyper-connectivity has been reported for other neuron types in the dentate gyrus, suggesting mossy cells are not unique in this regard. Thus, findings of the present study reveal epilepsy-related changes in mossy cell anatomy and synaptic input but do not strongly support the hypothesis that mossy cells develop into seizure-generating hub cells.


GluR2; dendrites; dentate gyrus; hypertrophy; miniature EPSC

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center