A key role of starburst amacrine cells in originating retinal directional selectivity and optokinetic eye movement

Neuron. 2001 Jun;30(3):771-80. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(01)00316-6.


The directional selectivity of retinal ganglion cell responses represents a primitive pattern recognition that operates within a retinal neural circuit. The cellular origin and mechanism of directional selectivity were investigated by selectively eliminating retinal starburst amacrine cells, using immunotoxin-mediated cell targeting techniques. Starburst cell ablation in the adult retina abolished not only directional selectivity of ganglion cell responses but also an optokinetic eye reflex derived by stimulus movement. Starburst cells therefore serve as the key element that discriminates the direction of stimulus movement through integrative synaptic transmission and play a pivotal role in information processing that stabilizes image motion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Nystagmus, Optokinetic / physiology*
  • Reflex, Pupillary / physiology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Acetylcholine