Rapid induction by kainic acid of both axonal growth and F1/GAP-43 protein in the adult rat hippocampal granule cells

Isabel Cantallops, Aryeh Routtenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Hippocampal granule cells do not normally express the axonal growth- and plasticity-associated protein F1/GAP-43 in the adult rat. Using three different methods that lead to hypersynchronous activity in limbic circuits, expression of F1/GAP-43 mRNA can be induced in granule cells which is followed by sprouting in mossy fibers, the axons of granule cells. F1/GAP-43 mRNA expression in granule cells was induced in the temporal, but not septal, hippocampus beginning at 12 hours after kainic acid (KA) subcutaneous injection (10 mg/kg). Beginning 2 days after KA treatment, mossy fiber sprouts restricted to the temporal hippocampus were observed in the supragranular layer. In the same animal we also observed that levels of protein F1/GAP-43 immunoreactivity in this layer apparently increased at this same 2 day time point and same ventral hippocampal location. F1/GAP-43 protein levels and mossy fiber sprouting showed an increase up to 10 days after KA treatment. Sprouting was at a maximum at 40 days, the longest time point studied. These events parallel axonal regeneration with one critical difference: granule cell axons are not damaged by kainate. The rapid onset of axonal growth in the adult is striking and occurs earlier than reported previously (2 days vs. 12 days). Such growth closely associated with elevated levels of protein F1/GAP-43 may occur as a result of a) reactive synaptogenesis caused by the availability of post-synaptic surface on granule cell dendrites at the supragranular layer, b) Hebbian co-activation of the post-synaptic granule cells and their presynaptic afferents, and c) loss of target-derived inhibitory growth factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-319
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 1996


  • Timm's staining
  • hippocampus
  • mossy fibers
  • plasticity
  • sprouting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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