Postnatal changes in retinal ganglion cell and optic axon populations in the pigmented rat

J Comp Neurol. 1983 Sep 20;219(3):356-68. doi: 10.1002/cne.902190309.


The number of ganglion cells in the retina of the postnatal rat has been examined. We estimated both the number of axons in the optic nerve and the number of cells which can be retrogradely labelled with horseradish peroxidase from injections into the brain. In the retina of the newborn rat there are at least twice as many ganglion cells as in the adult rat. By retrograde labelling of the ganglion cells and following transection of their axons 24-48 hrs later we can find no evidence that ganglion cells withdraw their axon without degeneration of the patent cell body. We have found that the excess ganglion cells are lost over the first ten postnatal days and during this period we observe pyknotic nuclei in the ganglion cell layer. From our estimates of the total number of neurones in the ganglion cell layer and the number of ganglion cells found at different ages we conclude that the migration of amacrine cells into the ganglion cell layer occurs in the first five postnatal days.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / anatomy & histology
  • Axons
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Survival
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Optic Nerve / cytology*
  • Rats
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / growth & development