Macaque retina contains an S-cone OFF midget pathway

J Neurosci. 2003 Oct 29;23(30):9881-7. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.23-30-09881.2003.


Psychophysical results suggest that the primate visual system is equally sensitive to both the onset and offset of short-wavelength light and that these responses are carried by separate pathways. However, physiological studies of cells in the retina and lateral geniculate nucleus find far fewer OFF-center than ON-center cells whose receptive-field centers are driven by short-wavelength-sensitive (S) cones. To determine whether S cones contact ON and OFF midget bipolar cells as well as (ON) "blue-cone bipolar" cells (Mariani, 1984), we examined 118 contiguous cone terminals and their bipolar cells in electron micrographs of serial sections from macaque foveal retina. Five widely spaced cone terminals do not contact ON midget bipolar cells. These five cone terminals contact the dendrites of "blue-cone bipolar" cells instead, showing that they are the terminals of S cones. These S-cone terminals are smaller and contain more synaptic ribbons than other terminals. Like neighboring cones, each S cone contacts its own OFF midget bipolar cell via triad-associated (flat) synaptic contacts. Moreover, each S-cone OFF midget bipolar cell has a synaptic terminal in the outer half of the inner plexiform layer, where it contacts an OFF midget ganglion cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Macaca fascicularis / physiology*
  • Male
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / physiology
  • Retina / ultrastructure
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / cytology*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / ultrastructure
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / cytology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology