The differentiation of granule cell dendrites in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal region was studied in a series of developing fetal and postnatal rhesus monkeys whose brains were processed by the rapid Golgi method. The total combined lengths of dendrites, the total number of dendritic spines, and their density on the proximal, middle, and distal thirds of the dendritic shafts were determined at embryonic days 58, 95, 120, 153, term (165), postnatal days 3, 20, 60, 150, 365, and adults. At all ages examined, granule cells exhibited various levels of maturation with the more differentiated cells being situated in the superficial strata of the granular layer and the less mature cells lying in progressively deeper positions, thus conforming to the outside‐to‐inside spatiotemporal gradient of their genesis. Quanti‐tative analysis shows that, in this primate, hippocampal granule cells dif‐ferentiate mainly in the second half of gestation with all measured param‐eters attaining mature values by the time of birth. However, the analysis also reveals a transient phase of exuberant postnatal development which involves excessive dendritic branching, regional changes in dendritic length, overproduction of dendritic spines, and redistribution of spines within the molecular layer. After reaching peak values around the middle of the first year of life, these parameters decrease and in adult monkeys fall back to the neonatal level.
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