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Keywords:

  • hippocampus;
  • monoclonal antibody;
  • mossy fibre;
  • rat;
  • synapse;
  • transplantation

Abstract

We have derived two monoclonal antibodies, MF-1 and MF-2, which both recognize the same 58-kD antigen. Light and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry showed that this antigen is highly expressed in the large mossy fibre terminals innervating the proximal portion of the apical dendrites of pyramidal neurons in hippocampal field CA3. Staining was seen in the adult hippocampus in rats and mice, and in a post mortem human sample. Comparison with the Timm stain showed that the antibodies recognize mossy fibres from all parts of the adult dentate gyrus except for the tip of the infrapyramidal blade (the latest part of the dentate gyrus to develop). The MF antigen is expressed by mature terminals, and is not detected immunohistochemically in developing hippocampal mossy terminals until the end of the first postnatal week (i.e. later than the Timm-positive material). It was also found in host mossy fibre terminals innervating embryonic CA3 pyramids transplanted into adult hosts, but not in areas of the graft containing transplanted CA1 pyramids. These results indicate that this previously undescribed, late-developing antigen provides a useful specific marker for the mossy fibre projection in both the normal hippocampus and in situations of experimentally manipulated connectivity.