Granule cells are the main source of excitatory input to a subpopulation of GABAergic hippocampal neurons as revealed by electron microscopic double staining for zinc histochemistry and parvalbumin immunocytochemistry
Immunocytochemistry was combined with a recent modification of Timm's method to evaluate semiquantitatively the mossy fiber innervation of dendrites and somata of parvalbumin-containing neurons of the hilus of the dentate gyrus and the CA3 area of Ammon's horn. Using this electron microscopic double staining technique, it was found that (1) the overwhelming majority (95%) of terminals forming asymmetric synapses with parvalbumin-positive dendrites in the dentate hilus, and the strata pyramidale and lucidum of the CA3 area of Ammon's horn, originated from granule cells; (2) two-thirds of the asymmetric axosomatic terminals of parvalbumin-positive neurons contained zinc; and (3) no zinc-containing axon terminals formed synapses with somata or main dendritic shafts of the granule cells.
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