Substance P innervation of the rat hippocampal formation

Zsolt Borhegyi, Csaba Leranth

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Light and electron microscopic substance P (SP) immunostaining was performed on hippocampal sections of colchicine-pretreated, control, untreated fimbria-fornix-transected (5 days), as well as perforant path- stimulated Sprague-Dawley rats fixed in 5% acrolein. Numerous SP- immunoreactive neurons could be observed in the stratum oriens of the Ammon's horn and subiculum, fewer were seen in the dentate hilar area and stratum radiatum of CA2 and CA3, and even fewer were seen at the border between the CA1 strata radiatum and the lacunosum moleculare of CA1 subfield. A higher dose of colchicine resulted in SP immunoreactivity in a large population of granule cells and mossy axon terminals. The entire CA2 region, the stratum oriens of CA1, CA3, and the subiculum were densely innervated by SP- containing axon terminals. A homogeneous SP innervation was found in the stratum radiatum of CA1. Only a few SP fibers were seen adjacent to the granule cell layer. Symmetric axosomatic contacts were seen between SP- containing boutons and somata in the stratum oriens of the Ammon's horn. However, throughout the hippocampal formation, the majority of SP-containing axons formed axodendritic symmetric synapses. A dense population of SP- immunoreactive boutons that formed axodendritic asymmetric synapses was observed in the strata oriens and radiatum of the CA3a and CA2 regions, and a few were found in the supragranular and subgranular layers of the dentate gyrus. Fimbria-fornix transection resulted in a marked loss of SP fibers in the strata oriens, pyramidale, and radiatum of the CA3a and CA2 subfields. In perforant pathway-stimulated animals, a population of granule cells and a large number of mossy axon terminals were immunoreactive for SP. These observations suggest two sources of SP innervation to the hippocampal formation: one arising from intrinsic sources (interneurons and granule cells) and one arising from extrinsic sources, most likely the supramammillary region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-58
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 21 1997



  • Ammon's horn
  • Dentate gyrus
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interneurons
  • Supramammillohippocampal tract

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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