Thorny ganglion cells in marmoset retina: Morphological and neurochemical characterization with antibodies against calretinin

J Comp Neurol. 2017 Dec 15;525(18):3962-3974. doi: 10.1002/cne.24319. Epub 2017 Sep 18.


In primates, over 17 morphological types of retinal ganglion cell have been distinguished by their dendritic morphology and stratification, but reliable markers for specific ganglion cell populations are still rare. The calcium binding protein calretinin is known to be expressed in the inner nuclear and the ganglion cell layer of marmoset retina, however, the specific cell type(s) expressing calretinin in the ganglion cell layer are yet to be determined. Here, we identified calretinin positive retinal ganglion cells in the common marmoset Callithrix jacchus. Double labeling with the ganglion cell marker RBPMS demonstrated that the large majority (80%) of the calretinin positive cells in the ganglion cell layer are ganglion cells, and 20% are displaced amacrine cells. The calretinin positive ganglion cells made up on average 12% of the total ganglion cell population outside of the foveal region and their proportion increased with eccentricity. Prelabeling with antibodies against calretinin and subsequent intracellular injection with DiI revealed that the large majority of the injected cells (n = 74) were either narrow thorny or broad thorny ganglion cells, 14 cells were displaced amacrine cells. Narrow thorny cells were further distinguished into outer and inner stratifying cells. In addition, weakly labeled cells with a large soma were identified as parasol ganglion cells. Our results show that three types of thorny ganglion cells in marmoset retina can be identified with antibodies against calretinin. Our findings are also consistent with the idea that the proportion of wide-field ganglion cell types increases in peripheral retina.

Keywords: AB_10720427; Callithrix jacchus; RRID: AB_10000342; RRID: AB_398225; amacrine cells; calcium binding protein; retinal ganglion cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calbindin 2 / metabolism*
  • Callithrix / anatomy & histology*
  • Cell Count
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Female
  • Male
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / classification
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism*


  • Calbindin 2
  • RNA-Binding Proteins