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J Neurophysiol. 1984 Dec;52(6):999-1013.

Morphological correlates of physiologically identified Y-, X-, and W-cells in cat retina.


The action spike activities of single ganglion cells were recorded from the nasal retina of the intact eye of anesthetized and immobilized cats. Each ganglion cell was identified as a Y-, X-, or W-cell on the basis of its axonal conduction velocity, its receptive-field properties, and the level of maintained activity. Of about 100 ganglion cells physiologically identified and penetrated with horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-containing glass microelectrodes, 21 cells were subsequently identified in flat-mount preparations of the retinas and processed for detection of HRP. Of a total of nine Y-cells recovered, four had been penetrated at the soma and five at the axon. All had the morphology of the alpha-cell of Boycott and Wässle. Eight X-cells recovered. All had been penetrated at the soma and showed beta-cell morphology. Four W-cells were penetrated at the soma and recovered. Two off-tonic W-cells had small somas (15-16 micron in diam) and sparse dendritic fields, resembling gamma-cells of Boycott and Wässle. They are also similar to "G4" and "G18" of Kolb et al.'s classification. One on-tonic W-cell had somewhat larger soma (18 micron) with a relatively densely branched dendritic field. This corresponds to delta-cell of Boycott and Wässle or to "G15" of Kolb et al. One on-off phasic W-cell had a medium-sized soma (25.3 micron) with a fanlike dendritic expansion characteristic of the "unilateral horizontal broad range cell" of Shkolnik-Yarros or of "G22" of Kolb et al. Alternatively, all these W-cells can be called medium-sized gamma-cells. Among all three classes of ganglion cells, a positive correlation was found between the diameter of the receptive-field center and the dendritic field. Assuming that in the cat retina 1 degree of visual angle = 230 micron, dendritic fields of Y-cells seemed larger than their physiologically determined receptive-field centers. By contrast, the reverse relation was found between these two dimensions in X-cells. Axon diameters ranged from 4.0 to 5.6 micron (mean, 4.5 micron) in Y-cells and from 1.9 to 2.7 micron (mean, 2.2 micron) in X-cells. Three W-cells showed axon diameters of 0.6, 1.1, and 1.8 micron. The axon diameter distributions made from axons labeled by massive injections of HRP into the optic nerve fiber layer showed a pattern of distribution similar to that obtained from physiologically identified Y-, X-, and W-cell axons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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