Dentate granule cells form novel basal dendrites in a rat model of temporal lobe epilepsy

Neuroscience. 1998 Sep;86(1):109-20. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(98)00028-1.


Mossy fibre sprouting and re-organization in the inner molecular layer of the dentate gyrus is a characteristic of many models of temporal lobe epilepsy including that induced by perforant-path stimulation. However, neuroplastic changes on the dendrites of granule cells have been less-well studied. Basal dendrites are a transient morphological feature of rodent granule cells during development. The goal of the present study was to examine whether granule cell basal dendrites are generated in rats with epilepsy induced by perforant-path stimulation. Adult Wistar rats were stimulated for 24 h at 2 Hz and with intermittent (1/min) trains (10 s duration) of single stimuli at 20 Hz (20 V, 0.1 ms) delivered 1/min via an electrode placed in the angular bundle. The brains of these experimental rats and age- and litter-matched control animals were processed for the rapid Golgi method. All rats with perforant-path stimulation displayed basal dendrites on many Golgi-impregnated granule cells. These basal dendrites mainly originated from their somata at the hilar side and then extended into the hilus. Quantitative analysis of more than 800 granule cells in the experimental and matched control brains showed that 6-15% (mean=8.7%) of the impregnated granule cells have spiny basal dendrites on the stimulated side, as well as the contralateral side (mean=3.1%, range=2.9-3.9%) of experimental rats, whereas no basal dendrites were observed in the dentate gyrus from control animals. The formation of basal dendrites appears to be an adaptive morphological change for granule cells in addition to the previously described mossy fibre sprouting, as well as dendritic and somatic spine formation observed in the dentate gyrus of animal and human epileptic brains. The presence of these dendrites in the subgranular region of the hilus suggests that they may be postsynaptic targets of the mossy fibre collaterals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Dendrites / pathology
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Dentate Gyrus / pathology
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiology
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Perforant Pathway / physiology
  • Perforant Pathway / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar