Differential Structure of Hippocampal CA1 Pyramidal Neurons in the Human and Mouse

Cereb Cortex. 2020 Mar 21;30(2):730-752. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhz122.


Pyramidal neurons are the most common cell type and are considered the main output neuron in most mammalian forebrain structures. In terms of function, differences in the structure of the dendrites of these neurons appear to be crucial in determining how neurons integrate information. To further shed light on the structure of the human pyramidal neurons we investigated the geometry of pyramidal cells in the human and mouse CA1 region-one of the most evolutionary conserved archicortical regions, which is critically involved in the formation, consolidation, and retrieval of memory. We aimed to assess to what extent neurons corresponding to a homologous region in different species have parallel morphologies. Over 100 intracellularly injected and 3D-reconstructed cells across both species revealed that dendritic and axonal morphologies of human cells are not only larger but also have structural differences, when compared to mouse. The results show that human CA1 pyramidal cells are not a stretched version of mouse CA1 cells. These results indicate that there are some morphological parameters of the pyramidal cells that are conserved, whereas others are species-specific.

Keywords: 3D reconstructions; comparative neuroanatomy; dendrites; hippocampal formation; intracellular injections; principal neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / cytology*
  • Dendrites
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyramidal Cells / cytology*
  • Species Specificity