The density of synaptic input to the somata of dentate gyrus granule cells was examined utilizing quantitative electron microscopic techniques. In control (non-irradiated) material, greater numbers of axo-somatic synapses were observed in the superficial, earlier-generated cells as compared to the deep, later-generated cells. We further studied the X-irradiated dentate gyrus, in which the majority of granule cells were destroyed during postnatal genesis. The surviving cells displayed a density of innervation on their somata which exceeded that observed in either layer of the control material. These data are discussed in terms of the possible contribution of afferent-target cell interactions to the regulation of the density of synaptic innervation.