Mossy cells in the human dentate gyrus of adults and children of different ages were impregnated using the rapid‐Golgi method. In every case the cause of death was verified by autopsy and the brains were used when neither the history of the patient nor autopsy revealed brainrelated disease. Mossy cells in the human share common light microscopic features with the same cell type in rats and monkeys. Their most characteristic feature is the extremely large and complex excrescences on their proximal dendrites. Distal dendrites display pedunculate spines. Mossy cells have a few somal spines. The axon of mossy cells originates from the cell body and gives rise to several collaterals in the hilar region. The axons could be followed for several hundred microns, but in only one case did an axon collateral enter the granule cell layer of the adult dentate gyrus. In the newborn child, mossy cells display immature somal and dendritic features. The soma frequently bear spines. The dendrites are varicose and terminate in presumed growth cones. Both proximal and distal portions of the dendrites bear a few pedunculate spines and longirregular filopodia. A few small excrescences are present on the proximal dendrites. The first large, complex excrescences on the proximal dendrites of mossy cells appeared in the 7‐month‐old child. Both somata and dendrites dispaly adult‐like characteristics in mossy cells from a 5‐year‐old child. However, not all mossy cells are alike and some dendrites still display long filopodia. The axons of immature mossy cells were similar to adults. The present results indicate that connections between granule cells and hilar mossy cells of the human dentate gyrus develop through an extended postnatal period of time that may last until the fifth year.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience