Morphological properties of mouse retinal ganglion cells

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Journal Article

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cell classification; cluster analysis; dendrites; multivariate analysis; retina


The mouse retina offers an increasingly valuable model for vision research given the possibilities for genetic manipulation. Here we assess how the structural properties of mouse retinal ganglion cells relate to the stratification pattern of the dendrites of these neurons within the inner plexiform layer. For this purpose, we used 14 morphological measures to classify mouse retinal ganglion cells parametrically into different clusters. Retinal ganglion cells were labeled in one of three ways: Lucifer Yellow injection, 'DiOlistics' or transgenic expression of yellow fluorescent protein. The resulting analysis of 182 cells revealed 10 clusters of monostratified cells, with dendrites confined to either On or Off sublaminae of the inner plexiform layer, and four clusters of bistratified cells, dendrites spanning the On and Off sublaminae. We also sought to establish how these parametrically identified retinal ganglion cell clusters relate to cell types identified previously on the basis of immunocytochemical staining and the expression of yellow fluorescent protein. Cells labeled with an antibody against melanopsin were found to be located within a single cluster, while those labeled with the SMI-32 antibody were in four different clusters. Yellow fluorescent protein expressing cells were distributed within 13 of the 14 clusters identified here, which demonstrates that yellow fluorescent protein expression is a useful method for labeling virtually the entire population of mouse retinal ganglion cells. Collectively, these findings provide a valuable baseline for future studies dealing with the effects of genetic mutations on the morphological development of these neurons. © 2006 IBRO.

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