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Event: 757

Key Event Title

The KE title should describe a discrete biological change that can be measured. It should generally define the biological object or process being measured and whether it is increased, decreased, or otherwise definably altered relative to a control state. For example “enzyme activity, decreased”, “hormone concentration, increased”, or “growth rate, decreased”, where the specific enzyme or hormone being measured is defined. More help

Hippocampal anatomy, Altered

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. The short name should be less than 80 characters in length. More help
Hippocampal anatomy, Altered

Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. Note, KEs should be defined within a particular level of biological organization. Only KERs should be used to transition from one level of organization to another. Selection of the level of biological organization defines which structured terms will be available to select when defining the Event Components (below). More help

Organ term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help
Organ term

Key Event Components

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.Because one of the aims of the AOP-KB is to facilitate de facto construction of AOP networks through the use of shared KE and KER elements, authors are also asked to define their KEs using a set of structured ontology terms (Event Components). In the absence of structured terms, the same KE can readily be defined using a number of synonymous titles (read by a computer as character strings). In order to make these synonymous KEs more machine-readable, KEs should also be defined by one or more “event components” consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 22 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; See List). Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling). The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signalling by that receptor).Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description. To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons. If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests. Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add. More help
Process Object Action
brain development hippocampal formation morphological change

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
TPO Inhibition and Altered Neurodevelopment KeyEvent Kevin Crofton (send email) Open for citation & comment TFHA/WNT Endorsed
Nuclear receptor induced TH Catabolism and Developmental Hearing Loss KeyEvent Katie Paul Friedman (send email) Not under active development Under Development
NIS and Cognitive Dysfunction KeyEvent Mary Gilbert (send email) Under Development: Contributions and Comments Welcome
Transthyretin interference KeyEvent Erik Janus (send email) Open for adoption Under Development
TR Antagonism and DNT KeyEvent Kevin Crofton (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite Under Development


This is a structured field used to identify specific agents (generally chemicals) that can trigger the KE. Stressors identified in this field will be linked to the KE in a machine-readable manner, such that, for example, a stressor search would identify this as an event the stressor can trigger. NOTE: intermediate or downstream KEs in one AOP may function as MIEs in other AOPs, meaning that stressor information may be added to the KE description, even if it is a downstream KE in the pathway currently under development.Information concerning the stressors that may trigger an MIE can be defined using a combination of structured and unstructured (free-text) fields. For example, structured fields may be used to indicate specific chemicals for which there is evidence of an interaction relevant to this MIE. By linking the KE description to a structured chemical name, it will be increasingly possible to link the MIE to other sources of chemical data and information, enhancing searchability and inter-operability among different data-sources and knowledgebases. The free-text section “Evidence for perturbation of this MIE by stressor” can be used both to identify the supporting evidence for specific stressors triggering the MIE as well as to define broad chemical categories or other properties that classify the stressors able to trigger the MIE for which specific structured terms may not exist. More help

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) can be selected from an ontology. In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
mouse Mus musculus High NCBI
rat Rattus norvegicus High NCBI
human Homo sapiens High NCBI

Life Stages

The structured ontology terms for life-stage are more comprehensive than those for taxa, but may still require further description/development and explanation in the free text section. More help
Life stage Evidence
During brain development High

Sex Applicability

No help message More help
Term Evidence
Male High
Female High

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. For example, the biological state being measured could be the activity of an enzyme, the expression of a gene or abundance of an mRNA transcript, the concentration of a hormone or protein, neuronal activity, heart rate, etc. The biological compartment may be a particular cell type, tissue, organ, fluid (e.g., plasma, cerebrospinal fluid), etc. The role in the biology could describe the reaction that an enzyme catalyses and the role of that reaction within a given metabolic pathway; the protein that a gene or mRNA transcript codes for and the function of that protein; the function of a hormone in a given target tissue, physiological function of an organ, etc. Careful attention should be taken to avoid reference to other KEs, KERs or AOPs. Only describe this KE as a single isolated measurable event/state. This will ensure that the KE is modular and can be used by other AOPs, thereby facilitating construction of AOP networks. More help

The hippocampus is a major brain region located in the medial temporal lobe in humans and other mammals (West, 1990). Developmentally it is derived from neuronal and glial cells in the neural tube and differentiates in the proencephalon and telencephalon.  The hippocampus is a cortical structure, but only contains 3-layers, distinct from the 6-layered neocortical structures. For this reason, it is known as archicortex or paleocortex meaning old cortex. Within humans, the structure is identified as early as fetal week 13 and matures rapidly until 2 to 3 years of age (Kier et al 1997), with continuing slow growth thereafter until adult ages (Utsunomiya et al., 1999).  In rodents, the hippocampus begins to form in midgestation, with the CA fields forming in advance of the dentate gyrus. Dentate gyrus forms in late gestation with most of its development occurring in the first 2-3 postnatal weeks (Altman and Bayer, 1990a; 1990b).

The structure of the hippocampus has been divided into regions that include CA1 through CA4 and the dentate gyrus. The principal cell bodies of the CA field are pyramidal neurons, those of the dentate gyrus are granule cells. The dentate gyrus forms later in development than the CA fields of the hippocampus. These regions are generally found in all mammalian hippocampi.

The major input pathway to the hippocampus is from the layer 2 neurons of the entorhinal cortex to the dentate gyrus via the perforant path forming the first connection of the trisynaptic loop of the hippocampal circuit. Direct afferents from the dentate gyrus (mossy fibers) then synapse on CA3 pyramidal cells which in turn send their axons (Schaeffer Collaterals) to CA1 neurons to complete the trisynaptic circuit (Figure 1). From the CA fields information then passes through the subiculum entering the fiber pathways of the alveus, fimbria, and fornix and it routed to other areas of the brain (Amaral and Lavenex, 2006). Through the interconnectivity within the hippocampus and its connections to amygdala, septum and cortex, the hippocampus plays a pivotal role in several learning and memory processes, including spatial behaviors. The primary input pathway to the CA regions of the hippocampus is from the septum by way of the fornix and direct input from the amygdala. Reciprocal outputs from the hippocampus back to these regions and beyond also exist.


Trisynaptic Hippocampal Circuitry

How It Is Measured or Detected

One of the primary considerations in evaluating AOPs is the relevance and reliability of the methods with which the KEs can be measured. The aim of this section of the KE description is not to provide detailed protocols, but rather to capture, in a sentence or two, per method, the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements. Methods that can be used to detect or measure the biological state represented in the KE should be briefly described and/or cited. These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA).Key considerations regarding scientific confidence in the measurement approach include whether the assay is fit for purpose, whether it provides a direct or indirect measure of the biological state in question, whether it is repeatable and reproducible, and the extent to which it is accepted in the scientific and/or regulatory community. Information can be obtained from the OECD Test Guidelines website and the EURL ECVAM Database Service on Alternative Methods to Animal Experimentation (DB-ALM). ?

Data in support of this key event have been collected using a wide variety of standard biochemical, histological and anatomical methods (e.g., morphometrics, immunohistochemical staining, in situ hybridization and imaging procedures). Many of methods applied to reveal anatomical abnormalities are routine neurohistopathology procedures similar to those recommended in EPA and OECD developmental neurotoxicity guidelines (US EPA, 1998; OCED, 2007). Subtle cytoarchitectural features depend on more specialized birth dating procedures and staining techniques. It is essential to consider the timing of events during development for detection to occur, as well as the timing for detection (Hevner, 2007; Garman et al., 2001; Zgraggen et al., 2012). Similar techniques used in rodent stydies have been applied to postmortem tissue in humans. 

In humans, structural neuroimaging techniques are used to assess hippocampal volume with an analysis technique known as voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Volume of brain regions is measured by drawing regions of interest (ROIs) on images from brain scans obtained from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positron emission tomography (PET) scans and calculating the volume enclosed. (Mechelli et al., 2005). Similar imaging techniques can be applied in rodent models (Powell et al., 2009; Hasegawa et al., 2010; Pirko et al., 2005; Pirko and Johnson, 2008).

Domain of Applicability

This free text section should be used to elaborate on the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided). While structured terms may be selected to define the taxonomic, life stage and sex applicability (see structured applicability terms, above) of the KE, the structured terms may not adequately reflect or capture the overall biological applicability domain (particularly with regard to taxa). Likewise, the structured terms do not provide an explanation or rationale for the selection. The free-text section on evidence for taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability can be used to elaborate on why the specific structured terms were selected, and provide supporting references and background information.  More help

The hippocampus is generally similar in structure function across most mammalian species (West, 1990). The vast majority of information on the structure of the hippocampus is from mice, rats and primates including humans.

Evidence for Perturbation by Stressor


List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. Ideally, the list of references, should conform, to the extent possible, with the OECD Style Guide ( (OECD, 2015). More help

Altman J, Bayer SA. Migration and distribution of two populations of hippocampal granule cell precursors during the perinatal and postnatal periods. J Comp Neurol. 1990a Nov 15;301(3):365-81.

Altman J, Bayer SA. Prolonged sojourn of developing pyramidal cells in the intermediate zone of the hippocampus and their settling in the stratum pyramidale. J Comp Neurol. 1990b Nov 15;301(3):343-64.

Amaral D, Lavenex P (2006). "Ch 3. Hippocampal Neuroanatomy". In Andersen P, Morris R, Amaral D, Bliss T, O'Keefe J. The Hippocampus Book. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-510027-3.

Garman RH, Fix AS, Jortner BS, Jensen KF, Hardisty JF, Claudio L, Ferenc S. Methods to identify and characterize developmental neurotoxicity for human health risk assessment. II: neuropathology. Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Mar;109 Suppl 1:93-100.

Hasegawa M, Kida I, Wada H.  A volumetric analysis of the brain and hippocampus of rats rendered perinatal hypothyroid. Neurosci Lett. 2010 Aug 2;479(3):240-4.

Hevner RF. Layer-specific markers as probes for neuron type identity in human neocortex and malformations of cortical development. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2007 66(2):101-9.

Kier, EL, Kim, JH, Fulbright, K, Bronen, RA. Embryology of the human fetal hippocampus: MR imaging, anatomy, and histology. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol: 1997, 18(3);525-32.

Mechelli A, Price C, Friston K, Ashburner J (2005) Voxel-Based Morphometry of the Human Brain: Methods and Applications. Curr Med Imaging Rev 1:105-113.

OECD. 2007. OECD guidelines for the testing of chemicals/ section 4: Health effects. Test no. 426: Developmental neurotoxicity study.

Pirko I, Fricke ST, Johnson AJ, Rodriguez M, Macura SI. Magnetic resonance imaging, microscopy, and spectroscopy of the central nervous system in experimental animals. NeuroRx. 2005 Apr;2(2):250-64.

Pirko I, Johnson AJ. Neuroimaging of demyelination and remyelination models. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2008; 318:241-66.

Powell MH, Nguyen HV, Gilbert M, Parekh M, Colon-Perez LM, Mareci TH, Montie E. Magnetic resonance imaging and volumetric analysis: novel tools to study the effects of thyroid hormone disruption on white matter development. Neurotoxicology. 2012 Oct;33(5):1322-9.

U.S.EPA. 1998. Health effects guidelines OPPTS 870.6300 developmental neurotoxicity study. EPA Document 712-C-98-239.Office of Prevention Pesticides and Toxic Substances.

Utsunomiya, H., K Takano, M Okazaki, A Mitsudome Development of the temporal lobe in infants and children: analysis by MR-based volumetry. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol: 1999, 20(4);717-23.

West MJ (1990). "Stereological studies of the hippocampus: a comparison of the hippocampal subdivisions of diverse species including hedgehogs, laboratory rodents, wild mice and men". Progress in Brain Research. Progress in Brain Research 83: 13–36.

Zgraggen E, Boitard M, Roman I, Kanemitsu M, Potter G, Salmon P, Vutskits L, Dayer AG, Kiss JZ. Early postnatal migration and development of layer II pyramidal neurons in the rodent cingulate/retrosplenial cortex. Cereb Cortex. 2012 Jan;22(1):144-57.