Send to

Choose Destination
J Comp Neurol. 2002 Apr 15;445(4):360-73.

Axon arbors and synaptic connections of a vulnerable population of interneurons in the dentate gyrus in vivo.

Author information

Department of Comparative Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


The predominant gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neuron class in the hilus of the dentate gyrus consists of spiny somatostatinergic interneurons. We examined the axon projections and synaptic connections made by spiny hilar interneurons labeled with biocytin in gerbils in vivo. Axon length was 152-497 mm/neuron. Sixty to 85% of the axon concentrated in the outer two thirds of the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. The septotemporal span of the axon arbor extended over 48-82% of the total hippocampal length, which far exceeds the septotemporal span of axons of granule cells whose complete axon arbors extended over 15-29%. A three-dimensionally reconstructed 216-microm-long spiny hilar interneuron axon segment in the outer third of the molecular layer formed an average of 1 synapse every 5.1 microm. Of the 42 symmetric (inhibitory) synapses formed by the reconstructed segment, 88% were with spiny dendrites of presumed granule cells, and 67% were with dendritic spines that also receive an asymmetric (excitatory) contact from an unlabeled axon terminal. Postembedding GABA-immunocytochemistry revealed that 55% of the GABAergic synapses in the outer third of the molecular layer were with spines. Therefore, in the outer molecular layer, spiny hilar interneurons form synaptic contacts that appear to be positioned to exert inhibitory control near sites of excitatory synaptic input from the entorhinal cortex to granule cell dendritic spines. These findings demonstrate far-reaching, yet highly specific, connectivity of individual interneurons and suggest that the loss of spiny hilar interneurons, as occurs in temporal lobe epilepsy, may contribute to hyperexcitability in the hippocampus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center