Morphology of retinal ganglion cells in a new world monkey, the marmoset Callithrix jacchus

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


We studied the morphology of retinal ganglion cells in a diurnal New World primate, the marmoset Callithrix jacchus. This species is of interest as a model for primate vision because it has good behavioural visual acuity, and the retina and subcortical visual pathways are very similar to those of Old World monkeys and humans. Ganglion cells were labelled by placing small crystals of the carbocyanin dye DiI into the optic fibre layer, or by intracellular injection of neurobiotin. Two main classes of ganglion cell were labelled. We call these Group A cells and Group B cells: they are respectively homologous to parasol and midget cell classes. Group A and Group B cells show similar patterns of dye coupling, dendritic stratification and dendritic field size as their counterparts in Old World monkeys and humans. A third group of cells, which we call Group C, is morphologically heterogeneous. Examples corresponding to wide-field ganglion cell types described in Old World primates were encountered. One subgroup of C cells has a morphology very similar to that of the small bistratified (blue-on) cell described in macaque retina, suggesting that this functional pathway is common to all primates. As for other New World monkeys, the marmoset shows a sex linked polymorphism of cone pigment expression, such that all males are dichromats and the majority of females are trichromats. No systematic differences in Group B cells were seen between male and female retinas, suggesting that trichromacy is not accompanied by specific changes in ganglion cell morphology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-92
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • magnocellular
  • parvocellular
  • primate
  • vision


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