Distribution of short-wavelength-sensitive cones in human fetal and postnatal retina: early development of spatial order and density profiles

Vision Res. 2004;44(17):2019-26. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2004.03.030.


We analysed spatial density and distribution of short-wavelength-sensitive photoreceptors (S-cones) in developing and adult human retinae using antibody against short-wavelength-sensitive opsin. Statistical tests indicate that before 20 weeks of gestation (WG) the S-cone mosaic is not distinguishable from a random distribution, but by 20 WG is significantly different from a random distribution in the perifoveal region, as reported previously for adult retina. Changes in spatial density during development are consistent with displacement of the photoreceptor population towards the incipient fovea so that prior to 20 WG, peak S-cone density is >1.7 mm from the fovea, but is within 800 microm of the fovea by 20 WG.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Count
  • Fovea Centralis / cytology
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Infant
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / cytology*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / embryology