Blue-cone horizontal cells in the retinae of horses and other equidae

J Neurosci. 1996 May 15;16(10):3381-96. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.16-10-03381.1996.


The morphology of horizontal cells chiefly of the horse, but also of asses, mules, and a zebra, has been examined by Lucifer yellow injections into lightly fixed retinae and by immunocytochemistry. In common with other mammals, equids have a B-type horizontal cell, i.e., a cell with dendrites synapsing with cones and possessing a single axon synapsing with rods. Most mammalian retinae have a further type of horizontal cell, the A-type, also synapsing with cones but without an axon. The second type of horizontal cell in equids also has no axon; otherwise, it is most unusual. Compared with other mammalian A-type cells, it has a vary large dendritic field, both absolutely and relative to the dendritic fields of B-type cells. The dendrites are fine and sparsely branching. Their most striking feature is that they bear a low density of irregularly spaced synaptic terminal aggregates, suggesting their cone contacts are selective. Immunolabelling of S (blue)-cones in horse retina showed that they comprise, depending on retinal location, 10-25% of the cone population. For a single horse A-type cell, it is shown that 44 of its 45 terminal aggregates are congruent with the pedicles of S-cones. Immunostaining with a calbindin antibody demonstrated that each type of horizontal cell forms an independent regular mosaic. The density ratio of B- to A-type cells varied between 5 and 10. This is the first demonstration in a mammalian retina of a horizontal cell type with a direct input exclusively from S-cones.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Equidae
  • Female
  • Horses
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interneurons / immunology
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Male
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Retina / anatomy & histology*
  • Retina / immunology