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Ophthalmologe. 2007 Jan;104(1):79-90; quiz 91.

[Signal reception and processing by the retina].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Institut für Physiologie, Medizinische Fakultät, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780, Bochum, Germany.


Phototransduction occurs in the retina, which, as an outsourced part of the brain, fulfills important tasks in neuronal processing for image analysis relevant to perception. Interlinked biochemical cycles with immense amplification factors transform the electromagnetic waves of light into neuronal activity, and photochemical adaptation allows adjustment to light intensities of over more than 10 logarithmic units. Beginning with its dual system of photoreceptors with highly sensible rods and a color sensitive cone system, the retina, with between 50 and 100 main cell types, is characterized by complex neuronal circuits. The resulting center-surround antagonism of the receptive fields serves, amongst other things, to amplify intensity and color contrasts. Specialized ganglion cell types give rise to parallel signaling pathways into the higher visual centers of the brain.

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