Synaptic connectivity in the midget-parvocellular pathway of primate central retina

J Comp Neurol. 2006 Jan 10;494(2):260-74. doi: 10.1002/cne.20804.


The synaptic connectivity of OFF midget bipolar cells was investigated in the central retina of two primate species, the New World common marmoset monkey, Callithrix jacchus, and the Old World macaque monkey, Macaca fascicularis. In marmosets, dichromatic and trichromatic animals were compared. Bipolar output synapses were identified with antibodies against ribbon proteins (kinesin, C-terminal binding protein 2) or with an antiserum that recognizes postsynaptic glutamate receptor clusters (GluR4). The midget bipolar cells were identified immunocytochemically with antibodies to CD15 (marmoset) or an antiserum to recoverin (macaque). In marmosets, midget ganglion cells were retrogradely labeled from the parvocellular layers of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. Consistent with previous studies of Old World primates, in marmoset, midget bipolar cells contacted midget ganglion cells at a ratio of 1:1. The number of output synapses made by OFF midget bipolar cells was quantified for 104 cells in two dichromatic marmosets, 108 cells in one trichromatic marmoset, and 118 cells in one macaque. The number of output synapses was comparable for all animals, ranging from 10-71 in the dichromatic marmoset (average 29.7 +/- 12.4 SD), 12-86 in the trichromatic marmoset (average 28.6 +/- 11.7 SD) and 9-48 in the macaque (average 26.5 +/- 9.3 SD) per axon terminal. In all animals the number of output synapses per axon terminal showed a unimodal distribution. Our results suggest that the midget circuitry is comparable in dichromatic and trichromatic animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Callithrix / anatomy & histology*
  • Color Perception / physiology
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Macaca fascicularis / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism
  • Retina / anatomy & histology*
  • Retinal Bipolar Cells / cytology*
  • Retinal Bipolar Cells / metabolism
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology*


  • Receptors, AMPA
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, AMPA 4