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J Comp Neurol. 1998 Jan 26;390(4):470-80.

Dendritic field development of retinal ganglion cells in the cat following neonatal damage to visual cortex: evidence for cell class specific interactions.

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Department of Anatomy, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824, USA.


A well-known feature of the mammalian retina is the inverse relation that exists in central and peripheral retina between the density of retinal ganglion cells and their dendritic field sizes. Functionally, this inverse relation is thought to represent a means by which retinal coverage is maintained, despite significant changes in ganglion cell density. While it is generally agreed that the dendritic fields of mature retinal ganglion cells reflect, in part, competitive interactions that occur during development, the issue of whether these interactions are cell class specific remains unclear. In order to examine this question, we used intracellular staining techniques and an in vitro, living retina preparation to compare the soma and dendritic field sizes of alpha and beta ganglion cells from normal retinae with those of cells located in matched areas of retinae in which the density of beta ganglion cells had been reduced selectively by neonatal removal of visual cortex areas 17, 18, and 19. Our intracellular data show that while an early, selective, reduction in beta cell density has little or no effect on the cell body and dendritic field sizes of mature alpha cells, it results in a 13% increase in the mean soma area and an 83% increase in the mean dendritic field area of surviving beta cells. This differential effect suggests that the soma and dendritic field sizes of alpha and beta ganglion cells in the mature cat retina result primarily from competitive interactions during development that are cell class specific.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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