Heterogeneity of retinogeniculate axon arbors

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The retinogeniculate synapse transmits information from retinal ganglion cells (RGC) in the eye to thalamocortical relay neurons in the visual thalamus, the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN). Studies in mice have identified genetic markers for distinct classes of RGCs encoding different features of the visual space, facilitating the dissection of RGC subtype-specific physiology and anatomy. In this study, we examine the morphological properties of axon arbors of the BD-RGC class of ON-OFF direction selective cells that, by definition, exhibit a stereotypic dendritic arbor and termination pattern in the retina. We find that axon arbors from the same class of RGCs exhibit variations in their structure based on their target region of the dLGN. Our findings suggest that target regions may influence the morphologic and synaptic properties of their afferent inputs.

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