Visual Neuroscience

Short Communication

Relationship between numbers of retinal ganglion cells and lateral geniculate neurons in the rhesus monkey

Peter D. Speara1, Charlene B. Y. Kima1, Aneeq Ahmada1 and Bryony W. Toma1

a1 Department of Psychology, Center for Neuroscience, and Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Studies of the numbers of retinal ganglion cells and lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) neurons in primates suggest that the numbers of both types of neurons may vary over a two-fold range from one individual to another. This raises the question of whether the numbers of ganglion cells and LGN neurons are related or vary independently from individual to individual. We used stereological procedures to obtain unbiased estimates of the numbers of both cell types in seven rhesus monkeys. We found no significant correlation (rs. = −0.21) between the numbers of retinal and LGN cells in the same animals. In agreement with previous studies, the average ratio of the number of retinal ganglion cells that project to the LGN and the number of LGN cells was approximately 1:1. However, this ratio varied over a two-fold range, from 0.78:1 to 1.64:1, in individual animals. These results have important implications for understanding the mechanisms of retino-geniculate development and for understanding the connectional wiring between the retina and LGN.

(Received May 10 1995)

(Accepted June 19 1995)


Reprint requests to: Peter D. Spear, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Psychology and Center for Neuroscience, 1202 West Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53076, USA.