Abnormal morphological and functional organization of the hippocampus in a p35 mutant model of cortical dysplasia associated with spontaneous seizures

H. J. Wenzel, C. A. Robbins, L. H. Tsai, Philip A Schwartzkroin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

85 Scopus citations


Cortical dysplasia is a major cause of intractable epilepsy in children. However, the precise mechanisms linking cortical malformations to epileptogenesis remain elusive. The neuronal-specific activator of cyclin-dependent kinase 5, p35, has been recognized as a key factor in proper neuronal migration in the neocortex. Deletion of p35 leads to severe neocortical lamination defects associated with sporadic lethality and seizures. Here we demonstrate that p35-deficient mice also exhibit dysplasia/heterotopia of principal neurons in the hippocampal formation, as well as spontaneous behavioral and electrographic seizures. Morphological analyses using immunocytochemistry, electron microscopy, and intracellular labeling reveal a high degree of abnormality in dentate granule cells, including heterotopic localization of granule cells in the molecular layer and hilus, aberrant dendritic orientation, occurrence of basal dendrites, and abnormal axon origination sites. Dentate granule cells of p35-deficient mice also demonstrate aberrant mossy fiber sprouting. Field potential laminar analysis through the dentate molecular layer reflects the dispersion of granule cells and the structural reorganization of this region. Similar patterns of cortical disorganization have been linked to epileptogenesis in animal models of chronic seizures and in human temporal lobe epilepsy. The p35-deficient mouse may therefore offer an experimental system in which we can dissect out the key morphological features that are causally related to epileptogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)983-998
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes



  • Biocytin
  • Dentate gyrus
  • EEG
  • Epilepsy
  • Granule cell dispersion
  • Heterotopia
  • Neuronal migration disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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