, Volume 79, Issue 4, pp 213-225

Morphological features of chick retinal ganglion cells

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On average, in chicks, the total number of retinal ganglion cells is 4.9 × 106 and the cell density is 10 400 cells/mm2. Two high-density areas, namely the central area (CA) and the dorsal area (DA), are located in the central and dorsal retinas, respectively, in post-hatching day 8 (P8) chicks (19 000 cells/mm2 in the CA; 12 800 cells/mm2 in the DA). Thirty percent of total cells in the ganglion cell layer are resistant to axotomy of the optic nerve. The distribution of the axotomy resistant cells shows two high-density areas in the central and dorsal retinas, corresponding to the CA (5800 cells/mm2) and DA (3200 cells/mm2). The number of presumptive ganglion cells in P8 chicks is estimated to be 4 × 106 (8600 cells/mm2 on average) and the density is 13 500 and 10 200 cells/mm2 in the CA and DA, respectively, and 4300 cell/mm2 in the temporal periphery (TP). The somal area of presumptive ganglion cells is small in the CA and DA (mean (±SD) 35.7±9.1 and 40.0±11.3 μm2, respectively) and their size increases towards the periphery (63.4±29.7 μm2 in the TP), accompanied by a decrease in cell density. Chick ganglion cells are classified according to dendritic field, somal size and branching density of the dendrites as follows: group Ic, Is, IIc, IIs, IIIs, IVc. The density of branching points of dendrites is approximately 10-fold higher in the complex type (c) than in the simple type (s) in each group. The chick inner plexiform layer is divided into eight sublayers according to the dendritic strata of retinal ganglion cells and 26 stratification patterns are discriminated.