Ganglion cell dendrites are presynaptic in catfish retina

Nature. 1986 Feb;319(6053):495-7. doi: 10.1038/319495a0.


The retinal ganglion cells are third-order, spike-generating neurones whose axons transmit the output of the retina to the rest of the brain. It has long been believed that the dendrites of the retinal ganglion cells, like the dendrites of most other Golgi type I neurones, are only postsynaptic. Here we have studied the synapses made onto the ganglion cells in the catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), and we report that the distal dendrites of large-field ganglion cells make conventional chemical synapses onto other inner plexiform layer processes. We have also found that, more than 100 microns away from the cell perikaryon, the synapses made onto and by these ganglion cell dendrites are often tightly clustered. These synaptic clusters appear to be quite regularly spaced along the dendrites. Our results have important implications for the identification of ganglion cell dendrites within the inner plexiform layer as well as for the understanding of the ganglion cell response and receptive field generation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Fishes
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Horseradish Peroxidase