The hippocampal formation in the European hedgehog was examined with acetylcholinesterase (AChE) histochemistry and catecholamine histofluorescence in order to define the normal distribution of septohippocampal fibers and noradrenergic fibers, respectively, as well as to compare these inputs with the hippocampal cytoarchitecture as revealed with Nissl stain. In addition, alterations in the histochemical appearance following septohippocampal denervation were examined. Although the overall pattern of AChE-positive and noradrenergic fibers is similar to that observed in other mammals, some striking variations were observed, particularly within the dentate area. Thus, except for a heavily stained supragranular band, the AChE activity of the molecular layer is uniformly low without any obvious lamination, contrasting with the situation in most other mammalian species. The noradrenergic innervation of the dentate area showed the same density of fibers in the molecular layer and hilus, a pattern differing strikingly from the predominance of noradrenergic fibers in the hilus of other mammalian species. Such variations may reflect greater phylogenetic diversity in diffuse modulatory connections as compared with more precise topographical pathways.

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