In nonhuman mammals and in particular in rodents, most granule neurons of the dentate gyrus (DG) are generated during development and yet little is known about their properties compared with adult-born neurons. Although it is generally admitted that these populations are morphologically indistinguishable once mature, a detailed analysis of developmentally born neurons is lacking. Here, we used in vivo electroporation to label dentate granule cells (DGCs) generated in mouse embryos (E14.5) or in neonates (P0) and followed their morphological development up to 6 months after birth. By comparison with mature retrovirus-labeled DGCs born at weaning (P21) or young adult (P84) stages, we provide the evidence that perinatally born neurons, especially embryonically born cells, are morphologically distinct from later-born neurons and are thus easily distinguishable. In addition, our data indicate that semilunar and hilar GCs, 2 populations in ectopic location, are generated during the embryonic and the neonatal periods, respectively. Thus, our findings provide new insights into the development of the different populations of GCs in the DG and open new questions regarding their function in the brain.
Keywords: dendrites; dentate gyrus; hippocampus; mouse; neurogenesis.
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