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J Neurobiol. 1995 Mar;26(3):350-9.

Lamina-specific synaptic connections of hippocampal neurons in vitro.

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Institute of Anatomy, University of Freiburg, Germany.


By using slice cultures as a model, we demonstrate here that different target selectivities exist among the various afferent fibers to the hippocampus. As in intact animals, septohippocampal cholinergic fibers, provided by a slice culture of septum, innervate a co-cultured slice of hippocampus diffusely, that is, without forming distinct layers of termination. As in vivo, the septal cholinergic fibers establish synapses with a variety of target cells. Conversely, fibers from an entorhinal slice co-cultured to a hippocampal slice display their normal laminar specificity. They preferentially terminate in the outer molecular layer of the fascia dentata, thereby selectively contacting peripheral dendrites of the granule cells. This preferential termination on peripheral dendritic segments is remarkable, since these fibers do not have to compete with commissural fibers, hypothalamic fibers, and septal afferents for dendritic space under these culture conditions. Moreover, in triplet cultures in which first two hippocampal slices were co-cultured and then, with a delay of 5 days, an entorhinal slice was added, the fibers from the entorhinal slice and those from the hippocampal culture terminated in their appropriate layers in the hippocampal target culture. However, in this approach the normal sequence of ingrowth of these two afferents was reversed. In normal ontogenetic development, entorhinal afferents arrive in the hippocampus before the commissural fibers. The results show that there are different degrees of target selectivity of hippocampal afferents and that the characteristic lamination of certain afferent fibers in the hippocampus is not determined by their sequential ingrowth during development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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