SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • human hippocampus;
  • CA3 area;
  • pyramidal neurons;
  • synaptogenesis;
  • development

Abstract

The CA3 area serves a key relay on the tri-synaptic loop of the hippocampal formation which supports multiple forms of mnemonic processing, especially spatial learning and memory. To date, morphometric data about human CA3 pyramidal neurons are relatively rare, with little information available for their pre- and postnatal development. Herein, we report a set of developmental trajectory data, including somal growth, dendritic elongation and branching, and spine formation, of human CA3 pyramidal neurons from midgestation stage to middle childhood. Golgi-impregnated CA3 pyramidal neurons in fetuses at 19, 20, 26, 35, and 38 weeks of gestation (GW) and a child at 8 years of age (Y) were analyzed by Neurolucida morphometry. Somal size of the impregnated CA3 cells increased age-dependently among the cases. The length of the apical and basal dendrites of these neurons increased between 26 GW to 38 GW, and appeared to remain stable afterward until 8 Y. Dendritic branching points increased from 26 GW to 38 GW, with that on the apical dendrites slightly reduced at 8 Y. Spine density on the apical and basal dendrites increased progressively from 26 GW to 8 Y. These data suggest that somal growth and dendritic arborization of human CA3 pyramidal neurons occur largely during the second to third trimester. Spine development and likely synaptogenesis on CA3 pyramidal cells progress during the third prenatal trimester and may continue throughout childhood. Anat Rec, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.