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Cell Tissue Res. 2014 Oct;358(1):25-41. doi: 10.1007/s00441-014-1929-2. Epub 2014 Jun 26.

Distribution of peptidergic populations in the human dentate gyrus (somatostatin [SOM-28, SOM-12] and neuropeptide Y [NPY]) during postnatal development.

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Human Neuroanatomy Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, University of Castilla-La Mancha and CRIB (Centro Regional de Investigaciones Biomédicas), Avenida de Almansa 14, 02006, Albacete, Spain.


The postnatal development of the human hippocampal formation establishes the time and place at which we start autobiographical memories. However, data concerning the maturation of the neurochemical phenotypes characteristic of interneurons in the human hippocampus are scarce. We have studied the perinatal and postnatal changes of the dentate gyrus (DG) interneuron populations at three rostrocaudal levels. Immunohistochemically identified neurons and fibers for somatostatin (SOM-12 and SOM-28) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) and the co-localization of SOM-28 and NPY were analyzed. In total, 13 cases were investigated from late pregnancy (1 case), perinatal period (6 cases), first year (1 case), early infancy (3 cases), and late infancy (2 cases). Overall, the pattern of distribution of these peptides in the DG was similar to that of the adult. The distribution of cells was charted, and the cell density (number of positive cells/mm(2)) was calculated. The highest density corresponded to the polymorphic cell layer and was higher at pre- and perinatal periods. At increasing ages, neuron density modifications revealed a decrease from 5 postnatal months onward. In contrast, by late infancy, two immunoreactive bands for SOM-28 and NPY in the molecular layer were much better defined. Double-immunohistochemistry showed that NPY-positive neurons co-localized with SOM-28, whereas some fibers contained only one or other of the neuropeptides. Thus, this peptidergic population, presumably inhibitory, probably has a role in DG maturation and its subsequent functional activity in memory processing.

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