Immunohistochemical demonstration of serotonin-containing nerve fibers in the mammalian hippocampal formation

Acta Anat (Basel). 1988;132(4):335-46. doi: 10.1159/000146599.


The distributional pattern of serotonin-immunoreactive nerve fibers in the hippocampal formation of six different mammalian species (rat, chipmunk, hamster, cat, dog and monkey) was studied in detail by means of a modified peroxidase-antiperoxidase immunohistochemical method, using a specific serotonin antiserum. Furthermore, the density of varicosities distributed in each layer of the hippocampus was semiquantitatively analyzed. In all species investigated, the routes of serotonin fibers entering the hippocampal formation were found to be almost the same. These fibers were extensively distributed throughout the hippocampal formation, and had a characteristic arrangement corresponding to the laminar structure of this region. A dense innervation by varicose serotonin fibers was found in the stratum lacunosum-moleculare, but a few serotonin fibers were also distributed in the stratum lucidum of the CA2 and CA3 fields. The stratum pyramidale and the granule cell layer of the dentate gyrus contained a small number of serotonin fibers. The concentration and the direction of serotonin fibers were different in each area of each animal. Two peculiar observations should be stressed: (1) in the rat, the strata oriens and radiatum of CA2 and CA3 as well as the stratum lacunosum-moleculare displayed abundant serotonin fibers; (2) in the dog, abundant serotonin fibers were diffusely distributed in the CA1 field except for the stratum pyramidale and the most dense concentration of serotonin fibers was seen in the stratum oriens of CA3. The present study provides a morphological basis for further study of the functional significance of serotonin in the limbic system.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cricetinae
  • Dogs
  • Hippocampus / analysis*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Macaca
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Nerve Fibers / analysis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sciuridae
  • Serotonin / analysis*


  • Serotonin