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Vis Neurosci. 1996 Jul-Aug;13(4):773-86.

Soma and axon diameter distributions and central projections of ferret retinal ganglion cells.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Ophthalmology, Sydney University, Australia.


Using a combination of retrograde horseradish peroxidase (HRP) labelling, silver staining, and electron microscopy, we have assessed the relationship between retinal ganglion cell soma size and axon diameter in the adult ferret (Mustela putorius furo). Retinal ganglion cells were labelled following injections of HRP into the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), superior colliculus (SC), or LGN+SC. The soma size distributions following LGN, SC, or LGN+SC injections were all unimodal showing considerable overlap between different cell classes. This was confirmed for alpha cells identified on the basis of dendritic filling or from neurofibrillar-stained retinae. Analysis of the soma size and axon diameters of a population of heavily labelled retinal ganglion cells showed a significant correlation between the two. However, the overall distribution of intraretinal axon diameter was bimodal with an extended tail. Analysis of the ganglion cell distributions in the adult ferret indicates that beta cells comprise about 50.5-55%, gamma 42.5-47%, and alpha 2.5% of the ganglion cell population. This implies that the proportion of gamma, beta, alpha cells in both cat and ferret retina is highly conserved despite differences in visual specialization in the two species.

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