Parasol and midget ganglion cells of the human retina

J Comp Neurol. 1985 Mar 1;233(1):115-32. doi: 10.1002/cne.902330107.


Golgi-impregnated ganglion cells were studied in two flat-mounted human retinas. A number of different morphologic forms were observed, and those showing a thickly branching dendritic field with terminals that stratified within a narrow zone of the inner plexiform layer were selected for further investigation. When the dendritic field diameter of these cells was plotted against distance from the fovea, the scatter diagram showed two distinct clusters. At any given eccentricity, there was no overlap between the cell group with large dendritic fields and the group with small dendritic fields. Those with the larger dendritic fields also tended to have larger somas and thicker axons than the group with the smaller dendritic fields. The dendritic fields of both groups tended to be elongated, and the orientation and degree of this elongation were quantified by determining the best-fitting ellipse for each dendritic field. The degree of elongation was independent of eccentricity. The orientation of the dendritic field (major axis of the ellipse) of a cell did not appear to be independent of its position on the retina. To test whether the major axes tended to be directed toward any particular point on the retina, the positions of the cells on the retinal flat mount were transformed to relative positions on the retinal hemisphere, and the orientations of the dendritic fields were expressed in a spherical coordinate system for this hemisphere. A search was made for the position on the hemisphere which minimized the mean square deviation of the orientations from this point. The group with the large dendritic fields showed a significant tendency to be radially oriented toward a specific location on the retinal hemisphere, and that location lay within a few degrees of the fovea. Leventhal and Schall ('83) have reported a similar finding for ganglion cells of the cat retina. For the group with small dendritic fields, the retinal location that minimized the mean square deviation was also near the fovea; however, the set of orientations showed no greater tendency for mutual alignment than did a randomized set. The cell group with the large dendritic fields appears to correspond to Dogiel's (1891) type II cells, to Polyak's ('41) parasol cells, to the A cells of the monkey retina described by Leventhal et al. ('81), observed following HRP injection to the magnocellular layer of the LGN, and to the P alpha cells of the monkey retina, observed by Perry and Cowey ('81), following HRP uptake by cut axons of the optic nerve.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Dendrites
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology*
  • Species Specificity