Digital Museum of Retinal Ganglion Cells with Dense Anatomy and Physiology

the EyeWirers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


When 3D electron microscopy and calcium imaging are used to investigate the structure and function of neural circuits, the resulting datasets pose new challenges of visualization and interpretation. Here, we present a new kind of digital resource that encompasses almost 400 ganglion cells from a single patch of mouse retina. An online “museum” provides a 3D interactive view of each cell's anatomy, as well as graphs of its visual responses. The resource reveals two aspects of the retina's inner plexiform layer: an arbor segregation principle governing structure along the light axis and a density conservation principle governing structure in the tangential plane. Structure is related to visual function; ganglion cells with arbors near the layer of ganglion cell somas are more sustained in their visual responses on average. Our methods are potentially applicable to dense maps of neuronal anatomy and physiology in other parts of the nervous system. A digital “museum” of retinal ganglion cells combines dense maps of anatomy and physiology at cellular resolution. The inner plexiform layer of the retina divides into four sublaminae defined by a purely anatomical principle of arbor segregation. We test the hypothesis that the aggregate neurite density of a ganglion cell type should be approximately uniform (“density conservation”). Ganglion cells arborizing in the inner marginal sublamina of the inner plexiform layer exhibit significantly more sustained visual responses on average.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1293-1306.e19
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 17 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


  • 3D reconstruction
  • calcium imaging
  • cell type
  • crowdsourcing
  • electron microscopy
  • ganglion cell
  • inner plexiform layer
  • mouse
  • online atlas
  • retina


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