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J Comp Neurol April 1, 1984; 224 (2): 231-51.

The development of retinal ganglion cells in a tetraploid strain of Xenopus laevis: a morphological study utilizing intracellular dye injection.

Sakaguchi DS , Murphey RK , Hunt RK , Tompkins R .

The morphological development of retinal ganglion cells was examined in a tetraploid strain of Xenopus frogs. The enlarged cells of the tetraploid strain facilitate the application of intracellular techniques. Using an in vitro retinal preparation and Nomarski optics, intracellular recording and dye injection were carried out under visual control on ganglion cells in central retina from 2 days of development (stage 24) to metamorphosis (stage 64). We identified three phases in the morphological differentiation of ganglion cells. During the first phase (stages 24-30), all cells were neuroepitheliallike in form and possessed robust resting potentials in the range of -35 to -60 mV, and dye-coupling was occasionally observed between neighboring cells. During the second phase of ganglion cell development (stages 31-45) the neurons had begun to elaborate axons and dendrites. These cells possessing neurites had resting potentials between -15 and -30 mV, and no dye-coupling was observed between neighbors. During the third and final phase of maturation, from stage 46 onward, three distinct morphological types of ganglion cells could be identified. Type I cells had the smallest somata and the smallest-diameter dendritic arborizations. The profusely branched dendrites of these cells ramify extensively throughout the inner plexiform layer. Type II cells had large somata, intermediate-diameter dendritic fields, and a highly elaborate dendritic branching pattern. These cells were seen to arborize within two sublamina in the inner plexiform layer. Type III cells had large somata, the largest-diameter dendritic fields, and a dendritic arbor with long primary branches but little higher-order branching. These large dendritic fields were confined to a single sublamina of the inner plexiform layer, abutting the inner nuclear layer. While most phase 3 cells showed radial axon trajectories from the soma to the optic disc, a minority of cells (1-5%) with erratic and nonradial axon trajectories were also observed. Our data provide a morphological description of ganglion cell maturation in the central retina of Xenopus. We show that very early in development (as early as stage 46) three distinct morphological types of retinal ganglion cells are present, which correspond to the three classes of ganglion cells previously described in adult Xenopus (Chung et al., ''75).

PubMed ID: 19180813
Article link: J Comp Neurol

Genes referenced: tbx2

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