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Neuroreport. 1999 Sep 29;10(14):2955-9.

The development of retinal ganglion cell dendritic stratification in ferrets.

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Department of Psychology, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063, USA.


A signature feature of mature ferret retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) is the stratification of their dendrites within either ON or OFF sublayers of the retinal inner plexiform layer (IPL). Dendritic stratification is achieved through the gradual restriction of RGC dendrites which initially ramify throughout the IPL. We examined the time course of stratification by retrogradely labeling ferret retinas with DiI at various postnatal ages. Stratification of beta and alpha RGC dendrites into either the ON or OFF sublayers of the IPL begins around postnatal day 5, when class-specific morphologies begin to emerge, and is largely completed by eye opening, at the end of the first postnatal month. Our results imply that dendritic stratification of ferret ON and OFF RGCs, as in other mammals, occurs independently of visually driven activity.

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