Cellular and Molecular Differences Between Area CA1 and the Dentate Gyrus of the Hippocampus

  • Karim A AlkadhiEmail author


A distinct feature of the hippocampus of the brain is its unidirectional tri-synaptic pathway originating from the entorhinal cortex and projecting to the dentate gyrus (DG) then to area CA3 and subsequently, area CA1 of the Ammon’s horn. Each of these areas of the hippocampus has its own cellular structure and distinctive function. The principal neurons in these areas are granule cells in the DG and pyramidal cells in the Ammon’s horn’s CA1 and CA3 areas with a vast network of interneurons. This review discusses the fundamental differences between the CA1 and DG areas regarding cell morphology, synaptic plasticity, signaling molecules, ability for neurogenesis, vulnerability to various insults and pathologies, and response to pharmacological agents.


Calbindin Granule cell Pyramidal cell Ischemia Chronic stress Alzheimer’ disease Hypothyroidism Obesity OZR Signaling molecules Functional plasticity Structural plasticity 



Corno Amonis


dentate gyrus




long-term potentiation


early-phase LTP


late-phase LTP


long-term depression


nitric oxide


nitric oxide synthase


phosphorylated calcium calmodulin kinase II


guanidine triphosphotase


ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase-L1


field excitatory postsynaptic potential


gamma aminobutyric acid




voltage-dependent calcium channel




α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid


brain-derived neurotrophic factor


inhibitory postsynaptic potential


extracellular signal–regulated kinase


stratum radiatum/stratum lacunosum-moleculare


inhibitory postsynaptic current


obese Zucker rat


Amyloid beta


early growth response protein-1


basolateral nucleus of the amygdala


Funding Information

This work is supported by the Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy as well as various internal grants (SGPs) from the University of Houston.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Financial Disclosure

The author declares no direct or indirect financial or personal relationships, interests, and affiliations relevant to the subject matter of the manuscript have occurred over the last 2 years, and none expected in the foreseeable future.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of PharmacyUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

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