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Neuron. 2001 Jun;30(3):771-80.

A key role of starburst amacrine cells in originating retinal directional selectivity and optokinetic eye movement.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and, 606-8501, Kyoto, Japan.


The directional selectivity of retinal ganglion cell responses represents a primitive pattern recognition that operates within a retinal neural circuit. The cellular origin and mechanism of directional selectivity were investigated by selectively eliminating retinal starburst amacrine cells, using immunotoxin-mediated cell targeting techniques. Starburst cell ablation in the adult retina abolished not only directional selectivity of ganglion cell responses but also an optokinetic eye reflex derived by stimulus movement. Starburst cells therefore serve as the key element that discriminates the direction of stimulus movement through integrative synaptic transmission and play a pivotal role in information processing that stabilizes image motion.

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