Cone synapses of a flat diffuse cone bipolar cell in the primate retina

J Neurocytol. 1993 Sep;22(9):765-78. doi: 10.1007/BF01181322.


A Golgi-stained flat diffuse cone bipolar cell from a vervet monkey's retina (Cercopithecus aethiops), contacting six cones, was serially sectioned for electron microscopy (EM) to determine the types of synapses it made with the cone pedicles. All the synapses were basal (flat) contacts. Their distribution and ultrastructural type were similar at each pedicle. Approximately half the synapses were definable as triad-associated and the rest were elsewhere on the cone pedicle base. Their ultrastructure is the same regardless of those positions. About 25 synapses were made with each cone. Thus this type (DB2 of Boycott & Wässle, 1991) of flat diffuse cone bipolar cell is in contact with six cones through about 150 synapses. At the eccentricity studied each cone pedicle probably makes 90-100 basal synapses with between three and four DB2 bipolar cells. This is between two and three times the number that are made with all the types of invaginating bipolar cells. A brief review of cone photoreceptor synapses with bipolar cells shows that, for those so far examined in the primate retina, the dichotomy into two types of bipolar cell invaginating (ribbon-related), with axons ending in the b-layer of the inner plexiform layer (IPL) (hence presumptive On-bipolars) and flat (basal synapses), with axons ending in the a-layer of the inner plexiform layer (hence presumptive Off-bipolars) is the rule. But other vertebrate retinae, including that of the cat, also have bipolar cells which vary from this pattern.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Female
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*