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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 16 - Special Senses

Plate 16.306 Retina

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed


Plate 16.306 Retina

Rhesus monkey, Helly's fluid, H. & E., 162 x.


Nerve fiber layer: Consists of non-myelinated axons of ganglion cells. They converge at the optic disc to form the optic nerve. Fibrous neuroglial cells are scattered among nerve fibers.

Ganglion cell layer: Composed of multipolar ganglion cells. Only nuclei are seen by this method of staining.

Inner plexiform layer: Also known as inner synaptic layer. Contains processes of amacrine cells, axons of bipolar cells, and dendrites of ganglion cells.

Inner nuclear layer: Contains the nuclei of bipolar neurons and association neurons (horizontal and amacrine cells), as well as the nuclei of supporting (Müller's*) cells.

Outer plexiform layer: Also known as outer synaptic layer. Contains axons of rod and cone cells, dendrites of bipolar cells, and processes of the horizontal cells.

Outer nuclear layer: Contains rod and cone cell bodies and nuclei. Cone nuclei are ovoid and limited to a single row (compare with fovea in Plate 307). Rod nuclei are rounded and distributed in several layers.

Cones and rods: Light-sensitive end portions of rod and cone cells. Contain an unstable, light-sensitive substance (rhodopsin in rods and iodopsin in cones). Both pigments play an important role in the visual process. Rhodopsin and iodopsin consist of vitamin Al aldehyde conjugated to a specific protein (rod opsin and cone opsin).

Pigment epithelium: Single layer of pigmented cuboidal cells firmly bound to the choroid layer. Contains melanin pigment.

Choroid: Heavily pigmented layer of loose connective tissue characterized by extreme vascularity. Provides nourishment for the outer portions of the retina.

Sclera: Firm external coat of the eye. Composed of dense collagenous connective tissue. A narrow pigmented zone near its internal surface merges with the choroid. The tendons of the six extraocular striated muscles insert on the sclera.

*Müller was a nineteenth-century German anatomist.  

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