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Non-granule PSA-NCAM immunoreactive neurons in the rat hippocampus

Brain Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0006-8993(01)03365-0
  • Calretinin
  • Gaba
  • Interneuron
  • Neural Plasticity
  • Adhesion Molecule
  • Chemistry


Abstract The polysialylated form of the neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) continues to be expressed in the adult hippocampus, mainly in a subset of neurons located in the innermost portion of the granule cell layer. PSA-NCAM immunoreactive neurons have also been described outside this layer in humans, where they are severely reduced in schizophrenic brains. Given this important clinical implication, we were interested in finding whether similar neurons existed in the adult rat hippocampus and to characterize their distribution, morphology and phenotype. PSA-NCAM immunocytochemistry reveals labeled neurons in the subiculum, fimbria, alveus, hilus, and stratum oriens, lucidum and radiatum of CA3 and CA1. They are mainly distributed in the ventral hippocampus, and have polygonal or fusiform somata with multipolar or bipolar morphology. These neurons show long straight dendrites, which reach several strata and even enter the fimbria and the alveus. These dendrites are often varicose, appear devoid of excrescences and apparently do not show spines. Most of these neurons display GABA immunoreactivity and further analysis has shown that a subpopulation expresses calretinin, but not somatostatin, neuropeptide Y, parvalbumin, calbindin or NADPH diaphorase. Our study demonstrates that there is an important subpopulation of PSA-NCAM immunoreactive neurons, many of which can be considered interneurons, outside the rat granule cell layer, probably homologous to those described in the human hippocampus. The presence of the polysialylated form of NCAM in these neurons could indicate that they are undergoing continuous remodeling during adulthood and may have an important role in hippocampal structural plasticity.

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