Organization of the outer plexiform layer of the primate retina: electron microscopy of Golgi-impregnated cells

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1970 May 7;258(823):261-83. doi: 10.1098/rstb.1970.0036.


Golgi-impregnated retinae of rhesus monkeys have been examined by serial section electron microscopy to establish in a quantitative manner the neural connexions in the outer plexiform layer. The results have shown that there are two types of midget bipolar cell, here called the invaginating midget bipolar and the flat midget bipolar. Both types of midget bipolar are exclusive to a single cone. The invaginating midget bipolar has been found to fit a dendritic terminal process into every invagination in the cone pedicle base. The flat midget bipolar has dendritic terminals that make superficial contact on the cone pedicle base. There are twice as many dendritic terminals and points of contact with the cone pedicle on a flat midget bipolar top as compared with an invaginating midget bipolar top. These observations, together with light microscope counts of the numbers of the two types of midget bipolars, suggest that there are two midget bipolars per cone. The diffuse cone bipolar (the flat bipolar) also makes superficial contacts on the cone pedicle base, and serial sections have shown that a flat bipolar contacts about six cones. Rod bipolars connect exclusively to rods and their dendritic terminals always end as one of the central processes that penetrate the invagination. Horizontal cell dendrites end exclusively in cone pedicles and their axon terminals end in rod spherules. The point of contact with both the types of receptor is as the lateral elements of the invaginations. A single small horizontal cell contacts about seven cones and a large horizontal cell contacts about twelve cones. The numbers of contacts per cone pedicle decrease from the centre to the periphery of the horizontal cell's dendritic field, suggesting there is an overlap of four to six horizontal cells onto a single cone pedicle. The horizontal cell axon terminals are too numerous to assess in absolute numbers but there is only one terminal to a given rod spherule from any particular axon.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Retina / ultrastructure*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Retinal Horizontal Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Horizontal Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*