Cell density ratios in a foveal patch in macaque retina

Vis Neurosci. Mar-Apr 2003;20(2):189-209. doi: 10.1017/s0952523803202091.


We examine the assumptions that the fovea contains equal numbers of inner (invaginating or ON) and outer (flat or OFF) midget bipolar cells and equal numbers of inner and outer diffuse bipolar cells. Based on reconstruction from electron photomicrographs of serial thin sections through the fovea of a macaque monkey, we reject both assumptions. First, every foveal L and M cone is presynaptic to one inner and one outer midget bipolar cell; however, S cones are presynaptic to one outer but no inner midget bipolar cell. Second, we measure the density of all foveal cells in the same patch of fovea, affording accurate cell density ratios. For each foveal cone pedicle, at a density of 26,500 mm(-2), there is close to one (0.88) outer diffuse bipolar cell but only 0.40 inner diffuse bipolar cells. This asymmetry may be related to differences in resolution and sensitivity for light increments and decrements. We also find one (1.01) Müller cell, one (1.01) amacrine cell in the inner nuclear layer, and close to one (0.83) horizontal cell for each cone pedicle. In addition, for each S cone, there are two inner S-cone bipolar cells and two small bistratified ganglion cells. In total, there are 3.4 cone bipolar cells per cone but only 2.6 ganglion cells per cone. The latter ratio is enough to accommodate one midget ganglion cell for each midget bipolar cell.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Fovea Centralis / cytology*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Macaca / anatomy & histology*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology