Structure and function of bistratified intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells in the mouse

Tiffany M. Schmidt, Paulo Kofuji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


A subpopulation of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) expresses the photopigment melanopsin, rendering these cells intrinsically photosensitive (ipRGCs). These cells are critical for competent circadian entrainment, pupillary light reflex, and other non-imaging-forming photic responses. Research has now demonstrated the presence of multiple subpopulations of ipRGC based on the dendritic stratification in the inner plexiform layer (IPL), those monostratified in the Off sublamina (M1), those monostratified in the On sublamina (M2,4,5), and those bistratified in both the On and the Off sublaminae (M3). Despite evidence that M1 and M2 cells are distinct subpopulations of ipRGC based on distinct morphological and physiological properties, the inclusion of M3 cells as a distinct subtype has remained controversial. Aside from the identification of M3 cells as a morphological subpopulation of ipRGC, to date there have been no functional descriptions of M3 cell physiology or synaptic inputs. Our data provide the first in-depth description of M3 cell structural and functional properties. We report that M3 cells form a morphologically heterogeneous population but one that is physiologically homogeneous with properties similar to those of M2 cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1492-1504
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


  • Circadian entrainment
  • Dendrite
  • Dendritic arborization
  • Intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cell
  • M3 cells
  • Melanopsin
  • On pathway
  • Patch clamp
  • Retina
  • Synapse


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