Spatial organization of displaced ganglion cells in the chick retina

Stefania Deplano, Nicoletta Pedemonte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents a morphological and quantitative analysis of displaced ganglion cells performed in the chick retina at different stages of development (E11, E17, & P2). The lipophilic dye DiI inserted into the optic nerve provided a complete staining of displaced ganglion cell population and of their dendritic trees. From 11 days of incubation (E11) all neurons present a uniform morphology and are unmistakably recognizable by the dimensions of their cell body and by the presence of the axon. Their dendritic arborizations shape a complex network through the retina. Cell bodies are randomly distributed but dendritic trees of neighboring cells constantly present two levels of dendritic overlap: about 50% of the cells present a high degree of overlap, more than the 30% up to 95% of their total area, while the other half overlaps less than 20%. The high degree of overlap identifies a cluster, which is regularly formed by three and more rarely by four neurons starting from 17 days of incubation (E17) onward and after birth. From E17 onward, 94% of clusters is constantly formed by three cells and 6% of the clusters by four neurons. The distribution and the spatial arrangement of clusters are very regular, forming a mosaic that gives rise to a precise retinal coverage. The nearest-neighbor analysis unequivocally demonstrated that the mosaic of clusters is the most regular array so far described. This exact arrangement starts from 11 days of incubation and is maintained and refined through the following stages of development and after birth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-734
Number of pages8
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002


  • Dendritic arborization
  • Development
  • Mosaic
  • Whole mount

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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