Neuronal migration defects in the hippocampus during development are thought to be involved in various mental disorders. Studies of neural cell migration in the developing cerebrum have focused mainly on the neocortex, but those that have been performed on the developing hippocampal formation have not been adequately carried out. In the present study, the morphological differentiation of immature neurons that form the laminar structure of the hippocampus was investigated by labeling ventricular surface cells with the expression vector of the enhanced-green-fluorescent-protein (EGFP) gene. Vector DNA was transfected into spatially and temporally restricted neuroepithelium of the hippocampal primordium by in utero electroporation, and the morphology of EGFP-labeled migratory neurons and their interrelationships with the radial glial arrangement were observed. Pyramidal cells of Ammon's horn began to migrate radially along glial processes from a broad area of neuroepithelium on embryonic day (E)14. Large numbers of multipolar cells were found in the intermediate zone in the initial stage and stratified pyramidal cells appeared later. Dentate granule cells were labeled later than (E)16 and originated from a restricted area of neuroepithelium adjacent to the fimbria. Their initial migration was rapid and independent of radial glial fibers. Subsequent tangential migration in the subpial space and their ultimate settling into the forming dentate gyrus were closely associated with the radial glia. These findings indicate that distinct cellular mechanisms are involved in the development of the cortical layer of Ammon's horn and dentate gyrus.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.