Multiaxonal horizontal cells in the retina of the tree shrew, Tupaia glis

J Comp Neurol. 1985 Mar 22;233(4):553-63. doi: 10.1002/cne.902330412.


The retinas of most vertebrates contain two or more morphologically distinct types of horizontal cell, and usually one of these types lacks an axon. Among mammals, in which two types are observed, primates are exceptional in that both types of horizontal cell have axons. It then seemed of interest to study the horizontal cells of tree shrews (Tupaia glis), insectivores thought to be closely related to primates. Golgi impregnations of whole, flat-preparations revealed two types of horizontal cell. Uniaxonal cells have a compact dendritic organization with clusters of terminals, and a single thin axon with short collaterals and a few terminals, located along its length. Multiaxonal cells have a relatively large dendritic tree, and arising from the tips of about four to eight dendrites of an individual cell are thin axonlike processes which terminate as profusely branched telodendritic arborizations. This identification of the multiaxonal horizontal cells in Tupaia retina is the first time any vertebrate horizontal cell has been found to possess more than a single axon. A comparison of horizontal cells in tree shrew, monkey, cat, and squirrel retinas shows a remarkable morphological diversity within this class of mammalian retinal neuron.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Tupaiidae / anatomy & histology*