Comparison of photoreceptor spatial density and ganglion cell morphology in the retina of human, macaque monkey, cat, and the marmoset Callithrix jacchus

Ann K. Goodchild, Krishna K. Ghosh, Paul R. Martin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied the relationship between the morphology of ganglion cells and the spatial density of photoreceptors in the retina of two Old World primates, human and macaque monkey; the diurnal New World marmoset Callithrix jacchus; and the cat. Ganglion cells in macaque and marmoset were labelled by intracellular injection with Neurobiotin or by DiI diffusion labelling in fixed tissue. Cone photoreceptor densities were measured from the same retinas. Supplemental data for macaque and data for human and cat were taken from published studies. For the primates studied, the central retina is characterised by a constant numerical convergence of cones to ganglion cells. Midget ganglion cells derive their input, via a midget bipolar cell, from a single cone. Parasol cells derive their input from 40-140 cones. Outside the central retina, the convergence increases with eccentricity. The convergence to beta cells in the cat retina is very close to that for parasol cells in primate retina. The convergence of rod photoreceptors to ganglion cells is similar in human, macaque, and marmoset, with parasol cells receiving input from 10-15 times more rods than midget cells. The low convergence of cones to midget cells in human and macaque retinas is associated with distinctive dendritic 'clusters' in midget cells' dendritic fields. Convergence in marmoset is higher, and the clusters are absent. We conclude that the complementary changes in photoreceptor density and ganglion cell morphology should be considered when forming linking hypotheses between dendritic field, receptive field, and psychophysical properties of primate vision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-75
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume366
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 1996
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • magnocellular
  • parvocellular
  • primate
  • vision

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