A Golgi‐electron microscopic study of fusiform neurons in the hilar region of the dentate gyrus

Charles E. Ribak, László Seress

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37 Citations (Scopus)


The fusiform cells of the dentate gyrus are located in a portion of the hilus within 100 μm of the granule cell layer. They have ovoid somata and bipolar dendrites that generally run parallel to the granule cell layer. The dendrites of these cells are either spiny or sparsely spiny. The spiny fusiform cell has numerous spines along its dendrites, which are contacted by terminals with the features of granule cell axon collaterals. This cell type also displays somal spines that are contacted by similar terminals. In contrast, the sparsely spiny fusiform cell displays only a few spines, which are contacted by multiple small axon terminals that synapse with both the stalk and end bulb of the spine. Most synaptic input for this cell type is made with the smooth surfaces of the soma and dendrites. A variety of terminals form synapses with the sparsely spiny fusiform cell, including terminals that resemble the fine axon collaterals of mossy fibers. The somata of these two cell types also display differences in the amount of Nissl bodies and the degree of nuclear infolding. The results indicate that spiny fusiform cells are similar to mossy cells, another hilar cell type that receives its major synaptic input from axon collaterals of mossy fibers from granule cells. The distribution of the dendrites of spiny fusiform cells and the pattern of granule cell axon collaterals suggest a high degree of convergence from granule cells. In contrast, the variety of axodendritic synapses for sparsely spiny fusiform cells suggests that more diverse inputs affect this cell's activity. Therefore, the structure and circuitry of these two hilar cell types are probably different. This study adds further evidence to indicate that the hilus contains a large variety of cell types with different neuronal connections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-78
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1 1988


  • Golgi
  • dentate gyrus
  • electron microscopy
  • fusiform cells
  • hilus
  • rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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