, Volume 170, Issue 2, pp 145-159

Scanning electron microscopic studies on the development of the chick retina

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Fixed retinae of chick embryos and chicks of the first week after hatching were fractured and examined with the scanning electron microscope. The matrix cells of the retina proliferate up to the beginning of the second week. The migrating cells are oriented in cell cords. This columnar organization prevails up to the development of the plexiform layers formed as a consequence of the outgrowth of the dendritic and axonal cell processes.

Special attention was paid to the differentiation of the ganglion, bipolar and receptor cells, and the radial fibers (Müller cells).

Two main morphological patterns are significant for the organization of the retina during neurogenesis:

  1. the cell to cell contacts of migrating cells and

  2. the spatial arrangement of Müller cells which could provide guidelines for migration of neuronal elements.

Supported by a grant (Me 276/6) from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The authors would like to acknowledge the excellent technical assistance of Mr. K. Donberg. We also thank Mrs. U. Lietz for her help with the English translation