Spatial and temporal differences between the expression of short‐ and middle‐wave sensitive cone pigments in the mouse retina: A developmental study

Szél, P. Röhlich, K. Mieziewska, G. Aguirre, T. van Veen

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In an earlier study we found a topographic separation of middlewave‐sensitive (M) and shortwave‐sensitive (S) cones in the adult mouse retina. In the present study we investigated the development of the two colour‐specific cone types to see whether there is also a temporal difference between the expression of the specific cone visual pigments. Using two anti‐cone visual pigment antibodies, COS‐1 and OS‐2, we compared the densities of immunopositive cone outer segments on retinal whole mounts derived from mice of various ages. The first detectable cone outer segments were the S‐cones which appeared in the inferior half of the retina on postnatal day 4. At this stage, the density of the S‐cones was very low (30–40 cones/retina) but increased steadily on the following days to reach a value comparable to that of adults by P30 (18,000/mm2). This cone type always remained much more abundant in the lower part of the retina throughout the whole retinal development. In the superior half of the retina, a few S‐cones appeared from postnatal day 7; however, their number always remained about one order of magnitude lower than in the inferior part. In contrast, M‐cone outer segments were not identifiable earlier than postnatal day 11 and were confined exclusively to the superior part of the retina during the whole development process. On postnatal day 12, their density was 1,900/mm2 and increased to a value of 11,000/mm2 by postnatal day 30, which represented the adult stage. As shown by comparison of isodensity lines derived from immunocytochemical reactions of whole mount retinas, the two cone types occupied complementary halves of the mouse retina with maximum density centres located in opposite retinal quadrants. We conclude that (1) in contrast to the primate retina, mouse S‐cones precede the M‐cones in their development, and (2) the spatial arrangement of the two cone types is maintained throughout the whole differentiation process. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-577
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 22 1993



  • colour
  • cone fields
  • development
  • immunocytochemistry
  • photoreceptor mosaic
  • rodents
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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