Granule cell dispersion in the dentate gyrus of humans with temporal lobe epilepsy

Brain Res. 1990 Dec 10;535(2):195-204. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(90)91601-c.


The distribution of granule cells in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation was studied in control autopsy and temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) specimens. In control tissue, the granule cell somata were closely approximated and formed a narrow lamina with a distinct, regular border with the molecular layer. In 11 of 15 TLE specimens, the granule cell somata were dispersed and formed a wider than normal granule cell layer. The granule cell somata extended into the molecular layer to varying extents, creating an irregular boundary between the lamina. The dispersed granule cells were frequently aligned in columns, and many of these neurons displayed elongated bipolar forms. The extent of granule cell dispersion appeared to be related to the amount of cell loss in the polymorph layer of the dentate gyrus. Granule cell dispersion was not consistently associated with granule cell loss although 5 of the 11 specimens with granule cell dispersion also showed moderate to marked granule cell loss. The most common features in the histories of the TLE cases with granule cell dispersion were severe febrile seizures or seizures associated with meningitis or encephalitis during the first 4 years of life. The dispersion of the granule cells suggests that there has been some alteration in the patterns of cell migration in a subpopulation of cases with severe TLE. The resultant ectopic positions of the granule cells could lead to changes in both the afferent and efferent connections of these neurons and, thus, contribute to the altered circuitry of the hippocampal formation in TLE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Benzoxazines
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / pathology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxazines
  • Risk Factors
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Benzoxazines
  • Oxazines
  • cresyl violet