Are there three types of horizontal cell in the human retina?

J Comp Neurol. 1994 May 15;343(3):370-86. doi: 10.1002/cne.903430304.


Golgi-impregnated horizontal cells (HCs) as viewed in whole mount human retinas have been studied by light microscopic (LM) techniques. Impregnated HCs have been drawn by camera lucida and by the Eutectics neuron tracing method to provide quantitative data on dendritic tree sizes, dendritic tree shapes, and dendritic terminals for statistical treatment and cluster analysis. In addition, fractal analyses of HC dendritic branching patterns have been performed. Three significantly different HCs can be classified on both subjective and objective morphological criteria in central and peripheral human retina. In the fovea all HCs are so small that it is difficult to achieve a clear separation of the subtypes, although they can be distinguished by the experienced observer. HI types are the classic HCs of Polyak (The Retina, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1941) with distinct dendritic terminal clusters going to cones and a fan-shaped axon terminal consisting of large numbers of rod-destined terminals. HII cells have profusely branched, overlapping dendrites, with poorly defined terminals going to cones and a short curled axon bearing small terminals also going to cones. The HIII types exhibit larger diameter, more asymmetrically shaped dendritic trees and 30% more dendritic terminal clusters than HI cells at any location on the retina. Many HIII cells appear to emit a process from the cell body in the inner nuclear layer (INL) that descends into the outer strata of the inner plexiform layer (IPL). The axon of the HIII cell may end in a loosely organized, sprawling arborization. Fractal dimensions of the horizontal cells also show significant differences between the three groups. HII cells exhibit the highest fractal dimension followed by HI and HIII cells with lower and lowest fractal dimensions, respectively. The fractal dimension of HII cells of rhesus monkey, as determined from drawings by other authors in other publications, are the same as HII cells of human retina.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Fractals
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / ultrastructure*
  • Nerve Endings / ultrastructure
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / ultrastructure