Synaptic extensions from the mossy fibers of the fascia dentata

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In the hilar region of the rat hippocampus, filamentous extensions have been observed to originate from the en passant synaptic expansions on the so-called mossy fibers, which are the axons of the dentate granule cells. These extensions range in length from about 1 μm to 30 μm, are often branched, and appear to contact the processes of various cell types in the hilar region. In 28-day-old rats, there are between 4 and 9 such extensions from most mossy fiber expansions, and the total length of the extensions from any one expansion is on the order of 75 μm. Analysis of serial electron micrographs through normal and Golgi-impregnated mossy fibers has confirmed that these extensions are, indeed, presynaptic processes. Each contains one or more vesicle-rich foci along its length, and is associated with asymmetric membrane specializations. At these sites, the extensions are in synaptic contact with dendrites and dendritic spines of, as yet, unknown origin. A quantitative analysis of these extensions in Golgi material from rats at different ages indicates that they reach their greatest length around 14 days and then decline to adult values by 28 days.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-251
Number of pages11
JournalAnatomy and Embryology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1979
Externally publishedYes


  • Fascia dentata
  • Granule cells
  • Hippocampus
  • Mossy fibers
  • Synapses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Embryology
  • Anatomy
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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