Recent studies showed that light stimulation is required for the maturational segregation of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) synaptic connectivity with ON and OFF bipolar cells in mammalian retina. However, it is not clear to what extent light stimulation regulates the maturation of RGC dendritic ramification and synaptic connections. The present work quantitatively analyzed the dendritic ramification patterns of different morphological subtypes of RGCs of developing mouse retinas and demonstrated that RGCs in all four major morphological subtypes underwent profound dendritic redistributions from the center to specific stratum of the IPL after eye opening. Light deprivation preferentially blocked the developmental RGC dendritic redistribution from the center to sublamina a of the IPL. Interestingly, this developmental redistribution of RGC dendrites could not be explained by a simple developmental elimination of "excess" dendrites and, therefore, suggests a possible mechanism that requires both selective dendritic growth and elimination guided by visual activity.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.