Functional diversity of human intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells

Science. 2019 Dec 6;366(6470):1251-1255. doi: 10.1126/science.aaz0898.


Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) are a subset of cells that participate in image-forming and non-image-forming visual responses. Although both functional and morphological subtypes of ipRGCs have been described in rodents, parallel functional subtypes have not been identified in primate or human retinas. In this study, we used a human organ donor preparation method to measure human ipRGCs' photoresponses. We discovered three functional ipRGC subtypes with distinct sensitivities and responses to light. The response of one ipRGC subtype appeared to depend on exogenous chromophore supply, and this response is conserved in both human and mouse retinas. Rods and cones also provided input to ipRGCs; however, each subtype integrated outer retina light signals in a distinct fashion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Mice
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells* / physiology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / physiology