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Inner Plexiform Layer.


Kolb H.


In: Kolb H, Fernandez E, Nelson R, editors.


Webvision: The Organization of the Retina and Visual System [Internet]. Salt Lake City (UT): University of Utah Health Sciences Center; 1995-.
2001 Jan 01 [updated 2007 Mar 30].


There is a definite functional architecture to the inner plexiform layer of the mammalian retina and, in fact, to all vertebrate retinas. Stratification of the neuropil is formed by specific levels of branching of bipolar, amacrine, and ganglion cells so that specialized circuits of interactions are set up. In addition, there has, during the course of evolution, been an imposition of a broad division of the two halves of the inner plexiform layer into the top half, allowing only interactions for the OFF-center ganglion cell pathways and in the bottom half, only for the ON-center ganglion cell pathways. Bipolar and ganglion cells are chiefly responsible for the bisublaminar organization, but amacrine cells, particularly if they are of the sustained physiological types, are also drawn in. However, many amacrine cells are diffuse or bistratified and serve to connect the ON- and OFF-center neuropils, whereas still others stratify in such a manner at the border between the two functional neuropils, to receive both ON and OFF inputs to drive them. Such amacrine cells may be in the majority in the vertebrate retina and are thought to be involved more in temporal facets of retinal performance. They may be important for fast transfer of information, i.e., for speeding up signals The role of some of these amacrine cells will become clearer in later chapters.

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