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Vision Res. 2001 Nov;41(24):3073-82.

Gradual and partial loss of corner cone-occupied area in the retina of rainbow trout.

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  • 1Simon Fraser University, Department of Biological Sciences, 8888 University Drive, BC, V5A 1S6, Burnaby, Canada.


Several studies have indicated that the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) loses ultraviolet (UV) sensitivity and the associated UV-sensitive corner cones when the animal transforms from a small (parr) juvenile to a larger, silver-coloured, smolt. Similar changes supposedly take place when parr juveniles are treated with thyroid hormone (T(4)) or retinoic acid. In contrast to previous investigations, this study shows that parr juveniles lack corner cones throughout the lower half of the ventral retina, suggesting that corner cones cease to be incorporated into the ventral retina some time after hatching. This uneven incorporation of corner cones across the retina, when combined with retinal growth, creates a progressively smaller area of lower retina occupied by corner cones. Because in previous studies, the stimulating illumination was directed primarily at the ventral retina, the reported age-dependent changes in UV or polarization sensitivities can be explained by differences in the area of corner cones that was illuminated, and not necessarily by a loss of corner cones. This study also shows: (1) that the double cones from non-ventral mosaics of parr rainbow trout may change in cross-sectional shape, altering the mosaic formation from a square to a row, (2) the existence of a 'pure' (non-changing) square mosaic in the ventral retina, and (3) a potential method, based on differential staining of cone nuclei, to classify paired cones into double or twin cones.

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