An S-cone circuit for edge detection in the primate retina

Sci Rep. 2019 Aug 15;9(1):11913. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48042-2.


Midget retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) are the most common RGC type in the primate retina. Their responses have been proposed to mediate both color and spatial vision, yet the specific links between midget RGC responses and visual perception are unclear. Previous research on the dual roles of midget RGCs has focused on those comparing long (L) vs. middle (M) wavelength sensitive cones. However, there is evidence for several other rare midget RGC subtypes receiving S-cone input, but their role in color and spatial vision is uncertain. Here, we confirm the existence of the single S-cone center OFF midget RGC circuit in the central retina of macaque monkey both structurally and functionally. We investigated the receptive field properties of the S-OFF midget circuit with single cell electrophysiology and 3D electron microscopy reconstructions of the upstream circuitry. Like the well-studied L vs. M midget RGCs, the S-OFF midget RGCs have a center-surround receptive field consistent with a role in spatial vision. While spectral opponency in a primate RGC is classically assumed to contribute to hue perception, a role supporting edge detection is more consistent with the S-OFF midget RGC receptive field structure and studies of hue perception.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Color Vision / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis / physiology*
  • Male
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / ultrastructure
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism