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Random spatial patterning of cone bipolar cell mosaics in the mouse retina

  • PATRICK W. KEELEY (a1), JASON J. KIM (a1), SAMMY C.S. LEE (a2), SILKE HAVERKAMP (a3) and BENJAMIN E. REESE (a1) (a4)...


Retinal bipolar cells spread their dendritic arbors to tile the retinal surface, extending them to the tips of the dendritic fields of their homotypic neighbors, minimizing dendritic overlap. Such uniform nonredundant dendritic coverage of these populations would suggest a degree of spatial order in the properties of their somal distributions, yet few studies have examined the patterning in retinal bipolar cell mosaics. The present study examined the organization of two types of cone bipolar cells in the mouse retina, the Type 2 cells and the Type 4 cells, and compared their spatial statistical properties with those of the horizontal cells and the cholinergic amacrine cells, as well as to random simulations of cells matched in density and constrained by soma size. The Delauney tessellation of each field was computed, from which nearest neighbor distances and Voronoi domain areas were extracted, permitting a calculation of their respective regularity indexes (RIs). The spatial autocorrelation of the field was also computed, from which the effective radius and packing factor (PF) were determined. Both cone bipolar cell types were found to be less regular and less efficiently packed than either the horizontal cells or cholinergic amacrine cells. Furthermore, while the latter two cell types had RIs and PFs in excess of those for their matched random simulations, the two types of cone bipolar cells had spatial statistical properties comparable to random distributions. An analysis of single labeled cone bipolar cells revealed dendritic arbors frequently skewed to one side of the soma, as would be expected from a randomly distributed population of cells with dendrites that tile. Taken together, these results suggest that, unlike the horizontal cells or cholinergic amacrine cells which minimize proximity to one another, cone bipolar cell types are constrained only by their physical size.


Corresponding author

*Address correspondence to: B.E. Reese, Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5060. E-mail:


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Supported by NIH grant EY-019968.



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