Increased frequency of dentate granule cells with basal dendrites in the hippocampal formation of schizophrenics

Psychiatry Res. 2003 Feb 15;122(2):89-97. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4927(02)00122-1.


In the hippocampal formation of schizophrenics, the detailed morphology of Golgi-impregnated granule cells was examined. These granule cells of the dentate gyrus are interposed between the rostral entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus proper. In these limbic regions significant cytoarchitectural alterations in schizophrenics are reported, giving rise to the concept of a prenatal limbic maldevelopment in schizophrenia. Compared to controls, the frequency of dentate granule cells with basal dendrites was significantly increased in schizophrenics [43% (+/-3)] vs. [22% (+/-2) in the control group]. In epilepsy, dentate granule cells of epileptic patients also develop basal dendrites, which is explained as an adaptive process of plasticity. Similarly, the hippocampal alterations described in schizophrenics could be the sequela of primary entorhinal cytoarchitectural alterations. Since the increase in basal dendrites seems to reflect a process of continuous plasticity, suggesting an increased rate of postnatal granule cell generation, the synthesis of a prenatal limbic maldevelopment with an ongoing process of plasticity might, therefore, supersede the hypothesis of a neurodegeneration in schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / congenital
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / pathology*
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Dendrites / pathology*
  • Dentate Gyrus / abnormalities
  • Dentate Gyrus / pathology*
  • Entorhinal Cortex / abnormalities
  • Entorhinal Cortex / pathology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / abnormalities
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Schizophrenia / pathology*