Morphology and electrophysiology of dentate granule cells in the rhesus monkey: comparison with the rat

J Comp Neurol. 1997 Oct 13;387(1):136-47. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9861(19971013)387:1<136::aid-cne11>;2-s.


The morphologic and electrophysiologic properties of dentate granule cells in the young adult rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) were examined for the first time with whole-cell patch clamp recordings and intracellular biocytin filling in in vitro hippocampal slice preparations. Data from monkeys were compared with data generated in an identical manner from adult Sprague-Dawley rats. Intracellularly filled monkey and rat granule cells were identical in numerous morphologic parameters, including area of somata, total dendritic length, dendritic spread, segment number and length, and branching pattern. The single statistically significant difference in morphology was the vertical extent of the dendritic tree (distance from soma to fissure), which was 20% greater in the monkey. The passive membrane properties (resting membrane potential, input resistance, and membrane time constant) measured under current clamp conditions were virtually identical. The thresholds and amplitudes of action potentials were the same, but significant differences were seen in the kinetics of single action potentials. Monkey granule cell action potentials were significantly longer in duration (with slower rise and fall times) than action potentials in rat cells. These differences were likely due to a much smaller fast after hyperpolarization in the monkey as compared with the rat cells. Thus, with the exception of action potential properties, the principal finding of this study is that there is significant conservation of both form and function in dentate granule cells in these two species, despite the enormous phylogenetic separation. This suggests that granule cell properties may be extremely stable across diverse mammalian species.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology*
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiology
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Macaca mulatta / anatomy & histology*
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons / ultrastructure*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley / anatomy & histology*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley / physiology