Parallel processing in the mammalian retina

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004 Oct;5(10):747-57. doi: 10.1038/nrn1497.


Our eyes send different 'images' of the outside world to the brain - an image of contours (line drawing), a colour image (watercolour painting) or an image of moving objects (movie). This is commonly referred to as parallel processing, and starts as early as the first synapse of the retina, the cone pedicle. Here, the molecular composition of the transmitter receptors of the postsynaptic neurons defines which images are transferred to the inner retina. Within the second synaptic layer - the inner plexiform layer - circuits that involve complex inhibitory and excitatory interactions represent filters that select 'what the eye tells the brain'.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Feedback / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / anatomy & histology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / cytology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*