The primate retina contains two types of ganglion cells, with high and low contrast sensitivity

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Apr;83(8):2755-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.83.8.2755.


Previously, we discovered that the broadband cells in the two magnocellular (large cell) layers of the monkey lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) are much more sensitive to luminance contrast than are the color-sensitive cells in the four parvocellular (small cell) layers. We now report that this large difference in contrast sensitivity is due not to LGN circuitry but to differences in sensitivity of the retinal ganglion cells that provide excitatory synaptic input to the LGN neurons. This means that the parallel analysis of color and luminance in the visual scene begins in the retina, probably at a retinal site distal to the ganglion cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology
  • Macaca / anatomy & histology*
  • Macaca / physiology
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*