Dynamic Expression Patterns of Progenitor and Pyramidal Neuron Layer Markers in the Developing Human Hippocampus

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The molecular mechanisms underlying the formation of hippocampus are unknown in humans. To improve our knowledge of molecules that potentially regulate pyramidal neurogenesis and layering in various hippocampal fields, we investigated the expression of progenitor markers and cell fate molecules from gestational week (GW) 9 to GW 20. At GW 9, the progenitor cell compartment of the hippocampal formation mainly consisted of PAX6+ cells in the ventricular zone. Between GW 9 and 11, a second germinal area, the subventricular zone (SVZ), was formed, as shown by TBR2 labeling. Postmitotic markers (TBR1, CTIP2, SATB2, and CUX1) might reflect the inside-out layering of the plate from GW 11 onwards. TBR1+ neurons appeared in the deep plate, whereas CTIP2+, SATB2+, and CUX1+ neurons occupied the upper layers. From GW 16, differences in layer segregation were observed between the ammonic and subicular plates. Moreover, an ammonic-to-subicular maturation gradient was observed in germinal/postmitotic areas. Taken together, these findings demonstrate for the first time the presence of an SVZ in the hippocampus of human fetuses and laminar differences in transcription factor expression in the pyramidal layer of the human ammonic and subicular plate, and provide new information to further investigate the connectivity of the hippocampal formation.

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