Origins of crossed and uncrossed retinal projections in pigmented and albino mice

J Comp Neurol. 1980 Jun;191(3):383-412. doi: 10.1002/cne.901910306.


The extent of the binocular cortical field in albino mice, as revealed by recording from single cells, was almost normal; although the input from the ipsilateral eye was weaker than normal, most cells were driven from both eyes. By backfilling retinal ganglion cells from one optic tract with horseradish peroxidase we examined the origins of the retinofugal projections. Filled cells ipsilateral to the injected tract were concentrated in a crescent-shaped area bordering the inferior temperal retina. In black mice this area constituted 20% of the total retinal area, in albinos 17%. In black mice we counted nearly 1,000 labeled cells in the ipsilateral retina, or 2.6% of all cells filled in both eyes. Albinos had about one-third fewer filled cells ipsilaterally than black mice. Four percent of all ipsilaterally filled cells in black mice and 8% in albinos were scattered outside of the crescent region. The density of ipsilaterally projecting cells was uniform throughout the crescent region in black mice, but decreased toward the central retina in albinos. In retinas contralateral to the injection up to 39,000 cells were filled-about two-thirds of the cells in the ganglion-cell layer whose cytoplasm contained conspicuous Nissl substance. Depending on classification of unfilled cells as ganglion cells or interneurons, we estimated a total of 48,000 to 65,000 ganglion cells to exist in the retina. The size distribution of ipsilaterally projecting ganglion cells was similar in albinos and normals. Ipsilaterally projecting ganglion cells were on average 1.8-3 times larger in volume than contralaterally projecting ones in both types of mice. Displaced ganglion cells were relatively more common in ipsilateral retinofugal projections: 21% of all ipsilateral ganglion cells were displaced versus less than 1% of all the contralateral ganglion cells in black mice. In albinos only 13% of the ganglion cells in the ipsilateral retina were displaced. The overall reduction in ipsilaterally projecting cells in albinos was reflected twice as much in displaced ganglion cells as in normally placed ones.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Optic Nerve / anatomy & histology*
  • Retina / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology*