Electron microscopic immunocytochemical study of the distribution of parvalbumin‐containing neurons and axon terminals in the primate dentate Gyrus and Ammon's horn

Charles E. Ribak, László Seress, Csaba Leranth

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Five green monkeys were examined with light and electron microscopic preparations to explore the regional differences in the distribution of parvalbumin (PV)‐positive neurons and axon terminals in the primate hippocampus. PV‐positive neurons were mainly found in the hilus of the dentate gyrus and the strata oriens and pyramidale of Ammon's horn. In electron microscopic preparations, the PV‐positive cells displayed nuclear infoldings, intranuclear rods, a large rim of perikaryal cytoplasm with numerous organelles and both asymmetric and symmetric axosomatic synapses. One prominent PV‐positive cell type in CA1 was a large multipolar neuron that resembled the large basket cells of the neocortex. Although most PV‐positive dendrites were aspiny and postsynaptic to numerous axon terminals, some PV‐positive dendrites in the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus displayed filipodia‐like appendages with no synapses or spines that were postsynaptic to multiple axon terminals. The PV‐positive dendrites in the hilus and stratum oriens were apposed at specialized junctions that resembled gap junctions. PV‐positive axons were concentrated in the principal cell layers, and formed axosomatic, axodendritic, and axon initial segment synapses. In cases where these axons were observed to appose the surface of granule cells for a long length, only one axosomatic symmetric synapse per cell was found. In the hilus, PV‐positive axon terminals formed synapses onto thorny excrescences of spiny cells. Both semithin sections and electron microscopic preparations indicated that more PV‐positive axon terminals formed symmetric axosomatic synapses with pyramidal cells in CA2 than in CA1 and CA3. Also, CA2 displayed a unique plexus of PV‐positive axon terminals in stratum lacunosum moleculare. These results indicate that the PV‐positive hippocampal cells form a subset of GABAergic local circuit neurons, including the basket and chandelier cells. The ubiquitous finding of PV‐positive dendrites linked by gap junctions throughout the dentate gyrus and Ammon's horn adds further data to indicate that this subset of GABAergic neurons is linked electrotonically. The synaptic organization of PV‐positive neurons in the hippocampus suggests their participation in both feedback and feedforward inhibition. The PV‐positive neurons in the hippocampus are only a proportion of the basket and chandelier cells, whereas virtually all of these cells in neocortex are PV‐positive. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-321
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 8 1993



  • gap junctions
  • green monkeys
  • local circuit neurons
  • symmetric synapses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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