Functional morphologies of retinal ganglion cells in the turtle

J Comp Neurol. 1994 Dec 22;350(4):623-45. doi: 10.1002/cne.903500409.


Retinal ganglion cells in the turtle, Pseudemys scripta elegans, were examined by intracellular recording with a protocol of stationary and moving lights. Responses were apportioned among OFF, ON, and ON-OFF categories, and directional selectivity. Cells were injected with Neurobiotin, then later conjugated with avidin-horseradish peroxidase in standard procedure. Morphological analysis of the stained cells included measurements of soma and dendritic field sizes, dendritic stratification, number of cell processes, dendritic branchings, and dendritic symmetry ratios. ON and ON-OFF cells are at least bistratified, sometimes tristratified, in both sublaminae A and B whether directionally selective or not. OFF cells, in contrast, are monostratified, or at least confined to sublamina A. Morphological parameters of somal and dendritic field areas, branch point densities, and dendritic field asymmetries do not predict directional selectivity. Membrane polarization accompanying moving stimulation is discussed in terms of shunting inhibition and recording site.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avidin
  • Biotin
  • Cell Size / physiology
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Electrodes
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Models, Neurological
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Turtles / physiology*


  • Avidin
  • Biotin
  • Horseradish Peroxidase