Cat cones have rod input: a comparison of the response properties of cones and horizontal cell bodies in the retina of the cat

J Comp Neurol. 1977 Mar 1;172(1):109-35. doi: 10.1002/cne.901720106.


The responses of horizontal cell bodies and cones in the retina of the cat have been studied by means of intracellular recording and Procion dye injection in an isolated, arterially perfused eyecup preparation. Comparison of the hyperpolarizing responses of these units to red and blue stimuli of different intensities indicated that all morphological varieties of horizontal cells and, additionally, cones themselves, had mixed rod and cone input. The rod input into horizontal cell bodies is thus explained on the basis of cone physiology. The half-saturating intensity of 441 nm stimuli for the rod input into cones and horizontal cells was about 400 quanta/mum2/sec and about 160,000 quanta/mum2/sec for the cone input. Little of this difference can be related to the different quantum catching abilities of rods and cones. The spatial properties of horizontal cell bodies and cones have been characterized using stimuli consisting of long slits in conjunction with a continuous cable model. Space constants for horizontal cells ranged from 210 mum to 410 mum, whereas those for cones ranged from 50 mum, or possibly less, to 180 mum. It is argued that horizontal cell bodies of the cat retina form electrical networks, and that the sizes of the receptive fields generated in these networks may be limited by the diameters of the primary and secondary dendrites of horizontal cells. The rod and cone fields of horizontal cell bodies were found to be nearly coextensive in space, arguing against the notion that substantial rod input came from distant, rod-dominated terminal arborizations.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Color
  • Dark Adaptation
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Neurological
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Retina / cytology
  • Visual Fields