Identification of pedicles of putative blue-sensitive cones in the human retina

J Comp Neurol. 1990 Mar 1;293(1):39-53. doi: 10.1002/cne.902930104.


Cone photoreceptor pedicles from midperipheral regions of the human retina (6 mm from the foveal center) have been studied by light and electron microscopy. Three areas of cone pedicle mosaic were serially thin-sectioned, in the tangential plane, from the inner border of the outer plexiform layer to the emergence of the cone axons from the cone pedicles. Semithin sections were then collected from the cone axon level through the cone cell bodies to the cone inner segment level. Two hundred twenty-one cone pedicles were followed by this means to their respective inner segments. Eight percent of the cone pedicles were from cones with inner segment characteristics of the blue cones. All 221 cone pedicles were reconstructed by tracing images from electron micrographs. The cone pedicle locations, surface areas, telodendrial projections, and synaptic ribbons could then be measured by morphometry and analyzed by statistical methods. Some selected cone pedicles were reconstructed by computer graphics methods. The cone pedicles identified as belonging to the blue cone type could be distinguished from the surrounding longer wavelength types on the following morphological criteria: 1) they were smaller (50% the area of the surrounding pedicles), 2) they contained shorter synaptic ribbons, 3) they exhibited essentially no telodendrial contact to neighboring cone pedicles, 4) they were positioned slightly more vitread in the outer plexiform layer than neighboring pedicles, and 5) their irregular occurrence in the cone mosaic coincided with the distribution criteria established in our previous paper (Ahnelt et al: J. Comp. Neurol. 255:18-34, '87) for putative blue sensitive cones in midperipheral human retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nerve Endings / ultrastructure*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*