Quantification of neurons in the hippocampal formation of chimpanzees: comparison to rhesus monkeys and humans

Christina N. Rogers Flattery, Rebecca F. Rosen, Aaron S. Farberg, Jeromy M. Dooyema, Patrick R. Hof, Chet C. Sherwood, Lary C. Walker, Todd M. Preuss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The hippocampal formation is important for higher brain functions such as spatial navigation and the consolidation of memory, and it contributes to abilities thought to be uniquely human, yet little is known about how the human hippocampal formation compares to that of our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees. To gain insight into the comparative organization of the hippocampal formation in catarrhine primates, we quantified neurons stereologically in its major subdivisions—the granular layer of the dentate gyrus, CA4, CA2-3, CA1, and the subiculum—in archival brain tissue from six chimpanzees ranging from 29 to 43 years of age. We also sought evidence of Aβ deposition and hyperphosphorylated tau in the hippocampus and adjacent neocortex. A 42-year-old animal had moderate cerebral Aβ-amyloid angiopathy and tauopathy, but Aβ was absent and tauopathy was minimal in the others. Quantitatively, granule cells of the dentate gyrus were most numerous, followed by CA1, subiculum, CA4, and CA2-3. In the context of prior investigations of rhesus monkeys and humans, our findings indicate that, in the hippocampal formation as a whole, the proportions of neurons in CA1 and the subiculum progressively increase, and the proportion of dentate granule cells decreases, from rhesus monkeys to chimpanzees to humans. Because CA1 and the subiculum engender key hippocampal projection pathways to the neocortex, and because the neocortex varies in volume and anatomical organization among these species, these findings suggest that differences in the proportions of neurons in hippocampal subregions of catarrhine primates may be linked to neocortical evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2521-2531
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Abeta
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • CA1 region
  • Dentate gyrus
  • Stereology
  • Tauopathy


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantification of neurons in the hippocampal formation of chimpanzees: comparison to rhesus monkeys and humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this