Synapse Formation and Plasticity in the Developing Dentate Gyrus

  • Carl W. Cotman


The dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation may serve as a key area regulating cortical input to the limbic system. Cortical inputs converge at the entorhinal cortex which sends a massive excitatory projection to the granule cells of the dentate gyrus (Anderson, 1975). Pyramidal cells which receive a much sparser input rarely, if ever, fire. In the operation of hippocampal circuitry, cortical inputs drive granule cells which stimulate CA3 pyramidal cells which in turn diverge and project to other parts of the hippocampus, and ultimately to various limbic system nuclei. Inputs converge at the entorhinal cortex and diverge after the dentate gyrus. It is at the dentate gyrus where the pathway is unbranched, and where the first opportunity exists to regulate the flow of cortical information into the limbic system. In systems as diverse as complex engineering functions and metabolic pathways, the initial unbranched point in the system is usually the key regulatory point. Thus it might be that the transfer of information through the dentate gyrus is finely regulated.


Granule Cell Dentate Gyrus Entorhinal Cortex Molecular Layer Synapse Formation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

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  • Carl W. Cotman

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