A population of wide-field bipolar cells in the rabbit's retina

J Comp Neurol. 1995 Sep 25;360(3):403-12. doi: 10.1002/cne.903600304.


We have stained an unusual population of retinal bipolar cells. When the low molecular weight tracer biocytin was injected into the vitreous body of rabbits, it subsequently accumulated in the somata and processes of a population of wide-field bipolar cells. The cells have 2-4 primary dendrites. Their dendritic arbors span a field 50 to 200 microns in diameter. The axonal arbors are sparse and often highly asymmetric. The longest dimension of the axonal arbor ranges from 100 to 300 microns. The cells are moderately evenly spaced. They make up less than 1% of the total population of bipolar cells in the rabbit retina. With the whole population stained, regularities in the spatial arrangement of nearby cells can be recognized. Their dendrites often run to a common point, where they have the appearance of making contact with each other. A similar arrangement is seen for the cells' axonal arbors, so that the whole population is spatially linked in both the outer retina and the inner. The exact nature of the points of conjunction cannot be learned from light microscopy. One possibility is that the processes run together because they contact a common target. If so, the target structures (one in the outer retina and one in the inner) must be sparse. An alternative is that the points of conjunction represent synapses or gap junctions among wide-field bipolars of this type.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / chemistry*
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Dendrites / chemistry*
  • Lysine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Lysine / analysis
  • Rabbits / anatomy & histology*
  • Rabbits / metabolism
  • Retina / chemistry
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / ultrastructure


  • biocytin
  • Lysine