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Vis Neurosci. 2005 Jul-Aug;22(4):395-404.

Mosaic properties of midget and parasol ganglion cells in the marmoset retina.

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National Vision Research Institute of Australia, Carlton, and the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Australia.


We measured mosaic properties of midget and parasol ganglion cells in the retina of a New World monkey, the common marmoset Callithrix jacchus . We addressed the functional specialization of these populations for color and spatial vision, by comparing the mosaic of ganglion cells in dichromatic ("red-green color blind") and trichromatic marmosets. Ganglion cells were labelled by photolytic amplification of retrograde marker ("photofilling") following injections into the lateral geniculate nucleus, or by intracellular injection in an in vitro retinal preparation. The dendritic-field size, shape, and overlap of neighboring cells were measured. We show that in marmosets, both midget and parasol cells exhibit a radial bias, so that the long axis of the dendritic field points towards the fovea. The radial bias is similar for parasol cells and midget cells, despite the fact that midget cell dendritic fields are more elongated than are those of parasol cells. The dendritic fields of midget ganglion cells from the same (ON or OFF) response-type array show very little overlap, consistent with the low coverage of the midget mosaic in humans. No large differences in radial bias, or overlap, were seen on comparing retinae from dichromatic and trichromatic animals. These data suggest that radial bias in ganglion cell populations is a consistent feature of the primate retina. Furthermore, they suggest that the mosaic properties of the midget cell population are associated with high spatial resolution rather than being specifically associated with trichromatic color vision.

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