Reinhard, 2021

2021 - 16/02/2021 PLoS One

Visual properties of human retinal ganglion cells.

Reinhard K*, Münch TA*.


The retinal output is the sole source of visual information for the brain. Studies in non-primate mammals estimate that this information is carried by several dozens of retinal ganglion cell types, each informing the brain about different aspects of a visual scene. Even though morphological studies of primate retina suggest a similar diversity of ganglion cell types, research has focused on the function of only a few cell types. In human retina, recordings from individual cells are anecdotal or focus on a small subset of identified types. Here, we present the first systematic ex-vivo recording of light responses from 342 ganglion cells in human retinas obtained from donors. We find a great variety in the human retinal output in terms of preferences for positive or negative contrast, spatio-temporal frequency encoding, contrast sensitivity, and speed tuning. Some human ganglion cells showed similar response behavior as known cell types in other primate retinas, while we also recorded light responses that have not been described previously. This first extensive description of the human retinal output should facilitate interpretation of primate data and comparison to other mammalian species, and it lays the basis for the use of ex-vivo human retina for in-vitro analysis of novel treatment approaches.


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