The enigmatic mossy cell of the dentate gyrus

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 Sep;17(9):562-75. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.87. Epub 2016 Jul 28.


Mossy cells comprise a large fraction of the cells in the hippocampal dentate gyrus, suggesting that their function in this region is important. They are vulnerable to ischaemia, traumatic brain injury and seizures, and their loss could contribute to dentate gyrus dysfunction in such conditions. Mossy cell function has been unclear because these cells innervate both glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons within the dentate gyrus, contributing to a complex circuitry. It has also been difficult to directly and selectively manipulate mossy cells to study their function. In light of the new data generated using methods to preferentially eliminate or activate mossy cells in mice, it is timely to ask whether mossy cells have become any less enigmatic than they were in the past.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Bryophyta / cytology*
  • Bryophyta / metabolism
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism*
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiology
  • Epilepsy / metabolism*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / metabolism*