035 On Center, Off Surround Ganglion Cells

In this episode, Leslie tells us about on center, off surround ganglion cells. See how the configuration of rods with respect to the ganglion cell’s receptive field influences the type of response we get when those rods are stimulated.

Enjoy!

Transcript of Today’s Episode

Hello and welcome to another episode of Interactive Biology TV, where we’re making biology fun! My name is Leslie Samuel. In this episode, Episode 35, I’m going to talk about a specific type of ganglion cell that we call “on center, off surround ganglion cells.” Let’s get right into it.

I have a ledger over here that shows to the top left that R stands for rods, B stands for bipolar cell, H stands for horizontal cell, and G stands for ganglion cells. Here, I’m starting with a ganglion cell. We’ve look at the way rods connect to ganglion cells via bipolar cells, so I’m going to show that right now. So here we have 4 rods, and you can see those 4 rods here. Those 4 rods are making synapses with bipolar cells, and the bipolar cells are connecting to this ganglion cell. So this ganglion cell connects to 2 bipolar cells that connect to a total of 4 rods.

When we have this configuration with the rod directly connected to a bipolar cell that is directly connected to a ganglion cell, we call this the center of that ganglion cell’s receptive field. So this is the center of the receptive field, so any stimulation that results in activity in these rod cells is considered to be in the center of that ganglion cell’s receptive field.

Then we can have another configuration where we have rods that are connected to bipolar cells, so here we have a rod that’s connected to a bipolar cell that’s connected to a horizontal cell, and then it connects to the ganglion cell. So it goes via a bipolar cell, then a horizontal cell, and that eventually gets connected to this ganglion cell. Since it’s not directly from the bipolar to the ganglion cell, like it is over here, we call this not the center, but the surround. So any stimulation that stimulates these rods is considered to be in the surround of that ganglion cell’s receptive field.

So once again, these rods are considered to be in the center of this ganglion cell’s receptive field because they are connected directly via a bipolar cell to that ganglion cell. These rods, these two, the one over here and the one over here to the left are considered to be in the surround of that ganglion cell’s receptive field because they don’t go directly from the bipolar cell to the ganglion cell. They go via a horizontal cell.

Now, if this ganglion cell is considered to be an on center, off surround ganglion cell, that’s going to give a specific type of response. This is the response. I’m going to draw a graph over here that plots, as usual, the membrane potential versus time, and I’m going to draw one over here that does the same thing, time and membrane potential. We’re going to say that this is the center, this is when rods in the center of the receptive field are stimulated, and this is in the surround. We’re going to get 2 different responses. The response that I’m going to get here when there’s stimulation from the center is that we’re going to get an increase in the membrane potential, so it’s going to depolarize, and as we looked at with the ganglion cells before, we’re going to get a burst of nerve impulses in response to that stimulus. This is the on center response.

Now, if a rod gets stimulated in the surround of that ganglion cell’s receptive field, we’re going to get the exact opposite where we’re going to get a hyperpolarization, and then the membrane potential is going to come back up. In some cases, what we’re going to get here once this hyperpolarization happens and we get this rebound back to where the membrane potential was before, you’re going to get a burst of nerve impulses, but those nerve impulses are going to come after the stimulation. This is called a post-inhibitory rebound. So that’s basically saying it’s post-inhibition, so it’s after that inhibition happens, we’re going to get a rebound and some firing as soon as the stimulation stops.

Once again here, in the on center response, we get depolarization and a burst of nerve impulses in the ganglion cell. In the surround, we’re going to get an off surround response which is basically going to give us hyperpolarization, and then a post-inhibitory rebound. And you can see that those are 2 totally different responses, and the key ingredient here in that off surround response are these horizontal cells, because when they get stimulated by these bipolar cells, they are actually going to inhibit the ganglion cell that you see here. So this refers to the on center, off surround response of ganglion cells. This is a specific type of ganglion cells.

I just want to mention really quickly that we can also have off center, on surround ganglion cells, and if that were the case, we would get an off center response. In other words, if it’s stimulated in the center, we’d get this response over here with the post-inhibitory rebound, and if it’s stimulated in the surround of the ganglion cell’s receptive field, we’re going to get this burst of nerve impulses in response to the depolarization that happens.

That’s really all I want to talk about for this video. If you have any questions, as usual, go ahead and leave them in the comments section below, and I’d be happy to answer your questions. That’s it for now, and I’ll see you in the next video.



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  • Thank you so much for these vision videos!!!! This really helps to make sense out of the lectures we have….It’s great to come home from U of Windsor confused and watch these and things seem to come together!!!

  • Well, I’m glad you found it useful Kelly, and I’m also glad it’s all coming together. When you get that A, make sure to come back and let me know ūüėÄ

  • thank¬†u¬†so¬†much.¬†i¬†enjoyed¬†all¬†i¬†watched¬†and¬†i¬†have¬†a¬†question.¬†we¬†saw¬†how¬†the¬†eye¬†respond¬†to¬†light¬†but¬†how¬†does¬†it¬†interpret¬†that¬†light¬†signal¬†according¬†to¬†the¬†data¬†or¬†the¬†informations¬†it¬†carries?¬†i¬†mean¬†the¬†wave¬†length¬†-the¬†color-¬†and¬†the¬†dimentions¬†of¬†that¬†watched¬†object.¬†Biology¬†is¬†not¬†the¬†field¬†of¬†my¬†study¬†as¬†i¬†study¬†power¬†engineering¬†but,¬†i¬†am¬†interested¬†in¬†it¬†and¬†i¬†watched¬†your¬†lectures¬†from¬†episode¬†1:35¬†but¬†i¬†need¬†to¬†know¬†more¬†about¬†the¬†eye.¬†so¬†may¬†u¬†please¬†help¬†me!

  • Great Question Maha,

    Actually, the interpretation doesn’t happen in the eyes. It happens in the visual cortex which is in the brain. It takes all of the information that it gets from the Rods and Cones (and all the cells in between) and then combines it to form the full picture. That process is very complex and involves a number of different cells. Interestingly enough, they are called simple cells, complex cells, hypercomplex cells and others, and it would take many videos to explain how that all comes together. And with that, I’d probably be skipping a bunch of steps, lol.

    Glad to know you are enjoying the videos ūüôā

  • Thanks so much Leslie, I cannot even begin to describe how much that consolidated my knowledge along with your other videos I may now have a shot at passing this module!

  • @nashgalira Yes, it is related to lateral inhibition. I talk about it in
    Episode 34. Check it out.

  • @Blue2013KITE It means that when it’s stimulated in the center, it gets the
    OFF response (hyperpolarization and then post inhibitory rebound). When
    it’s stimulated in the surround, it gets the On response (depolarization
    and burst of nerve impulses). It’s the exact opposite of what is shown in
    the video. Hope that helps.

  • @InteractiveBiology stimulation of both the center and surround produces
    only a mild response (due to mutual inhibition of center and surround)

  • Thank you for creating these videos and posting them on YouTube. For future videos, I’d like to suggest that you use the drawing tool a lot less – it takes too much time to write out words and draw graphs, and they can be sort of unclear when you do it that way. Otherwise, nice work!

  • @PittDr All questions are answered in the Interactive Biology community forums from now on. Go to the website in the description and then visit the community. This is to make it as efficient as possible as we have multiple people over there to help answer questions.

    All the best

  • does the input form the center receptive field go through horizontal cells
    when it is off-center on-surround?

  • @thesameidiot All questions are answered in the Interactive Biology community forums from now on. Go to the website in the description and then visit the community. This is to make it as efficient as possible as we have multiple people over there to help answer questions.

    All the best

  • shouldn’t off-centre bipolar cells synapse onto AMACRINE cells which then
    contact ganglion cells instead of horizontal cells?

  • it really helps to understand the processes that happen in the retina! Thank you very much!

  • Sorry to brake it to you guys but the Visual transduction videos are wrong, horizontal cells connect photoreceptor (rods/cons) to each other, not bipolar cells and ganglion cells. This is not how receptor fields work.

  • Sorry to brake it to you guys but the Visual transduction videos are wrong, horizontal cells connect photoreceptor (rods/cons) to each other, not bipolar cells and ganglion cells. This is not how receptor fields work. At least not according to the literature I have read (Perves, Neuroscience), not according to Wikipedia either.

  • @virregribbe Sorry to break it to you, but it’s so complex that I’ve seen different descriptions in different books, so I picked one. Yeah, I know – It’s crazy. We don’t fully understand all aspects of this complex thing we call the human body. Makes you wonder . . .

  • Sorry to break it to you, but it’s so complex that I’ve seen different descriptions in different books, so I picked one. Yeah, I know – It’s crazy. We don’t fully understand all aspects of this complex thing we call the human body. Makes you wonder . . .

  • Sorry to brake it to you guys but the Visual transduction videos are wrong, horizontal cells connect photoreceptor (rods/cons) to each other, not bipolar cells and ganglion cells. This is not how receptor fields work. At least not according to the literature I have read (Perves, Neuroscience), not according to Wikipedia either.

  • Sorry to break it to you, but it’s so complex that I’ve seen different descriptions in different books, so I picked one. Yeah, I know – It’s crazy. We don’t fully understand all aspects of this complex thing we call the human body. Makes you wonder . . .

  • @virregribbe luckily we have wikipedia to rely on, considering it’s so very reliable……. wikipedia is a joke. go buy yourself a new textbook smartass

  • luckily we have wikipedia to rely on, considering it’s so very reliable……. wikipedia is a joke. go buy yourself a new textbook smartass

  • @karlydudar7 If you actually read my comment instead of trolling you would see that I’ve refereed to Purves Neuroscience fourth edition as well instead of trolling.
    My point is I haven’t come in to contact with ANY description other then this video that states that horizontal cells connect anything other than receptor cells. If you can find any/have other reference please post it!

    Good day Sir!

  • If you actually read my comment instead of trolling you would see that I’ve ref to Purves Neuroscience fourth edition as well instead of trolling.

    My point is I haven’t come in to contact with ANY description other then this video that states that horizontal cells connect anything other than receptor cells. If you can find any/have other reference please post it!

    Good day Sir!

  • If you actually read my comment instead of trolling you would see that I’ve ref to Purves Neuroscience fourth edition as well instead of trolling.

    My point is I haven’t come in to contact with ANY description other then this video that states that horizontal cells connect anything other than receptor cells. If you can find any/have other reference please post it!

    Good day Sir!

  • If you actually read my comment instead of trolling you would see that I’ve ref to Purves Neuroscience fourth edition as well instead of trolling.

    My point is I haven’t come in to contact with ANY description other then this video that states that horizontal cells connect anything other than receptor cells. If you can find any/have other reference please post it!

    Good day Sir!

  • @InteractiveBiology The structure of the Retinal cells are well-known and there shouldn’t be any disparities between most authors. More reading and you’ll find consistencies in what @virregribbe mentioned.

    H do not connect to G at all. B are the only link between Rods/Cones to the G. H are lateral processing neurons that connects between Rods/Cones. There is something called the Amacrine Cells that behaves just like H. You might want to redraw the diagram.

  • @InteractiveBiology The structure of the Retinal cells are well-known and there shouldn’t be any disparities between most authors. More reading and you’ll find consistencies in what @virregribbe mentioned.

    H do not connect to G at all. B are the only link between Rods/Cones to the G. H are lateral processing neurons that connects between Rods/Cones. There is something called the Amacrine Cells that behaves just like H. You might want to redraw the diagram.

  • @InteractiveBiology I’ve heard that horizontal cells inhibit glutamate release from neighboring photoreceptors as well. Which book did you use as your source?

  • I’ve heard that horizontal cells inhibit glutamate release from neighboring photoreceptors as well. Which book did you use as your source?

  • I’ve heard that horizontal cells inhibit glutamate release from neighboring photoreceptors as well. Which book did you use as your source?

  • @aykhk7 I don’t remember the textbook. It’s from notes I took in college. If your book says something different, go with it. My videos (like many textbooks), can have errors in it. Do your research and you’ll find the answer ūüôā

  • I don’t remember the textbook. It’s from notes I took in college. If your book says something different, go with it. My videos (like many textbooks), can have errors in it. Do your research and you’ll find the answer ūüôā

  • I don’t remember the textbook. It’s from notes I took in college. If your book says something different, go with it. My videos (like many textbooks), can have errors in it. Do your research and you’ll find the answer ūüôā

  • This video is wrong.
    I hope the author take this video down because it is misleading.
    Please do your homework before you make the video.
    The effort is good but if you teach the wrong things, it is worst than not teaching at all.

  • This video is wrong.
    I hope the author take this video down because it is misleading.
    Please do your homework before you make the video.
    The effort is good but if you teach the wrong things, it is worst than not teaching at all.

  • Awesome video! It’s just what I needed, and it clearly lines up with what is stated in my Costanzo BRS Physiology book, 3rd edition. Thanks for the visual explanation! ūüėÄ

  • Awesome video! It’s just what I needed, and it clearly lines up with what is stated in my Costanzo BRS Physiology book, 3rd edition. Thanks for the visual explanation! ūüėÄ

  • This video lines up with pics on MIT, McGill, and Harvard’s websites. It also matches the pics in Gazzaniga’s psych science text (2009).

  • my professor has said that it’s not clear where they connect, many sources say many different things

  • how I can I describe the different ganglia cells in different parts of the visual processing?
    I know they are at the eye level and in the cortex level.
    Can you please describe its function and importance please?

  • how I can I describe the different ganglia cells in different parts of the visual processing?
    I know they are at the eye level and in the cortex level.
    Can you please describe its function and importance please?

  • how I can I describe the different ganglia cells in different parts of the visual processing?
    I know they are at the eye level and in the cortex level.
    Can you please describe its function and importance please?

  • Yes I’d like to know that too – is the function of OFF (inhibition) uniquely to identify direction of light? What is the reason of having OFF centres or surrounds?

  • You confused me even more. What happened to amacrine cells, and none of my books have horizontal connection to ganglion man.

  • Although its validity may be unclear, it has helped me get an overview of the concept, which I find confusing. Thanks!

  • you have to differentiate between on and off Bipolar cells to understand, why one Bipolar cell responds with a depolarisation and the other with a hyperpolarisation…

    it’s like this… normal state of cone with no light is a membrane potential of about -30mV and a release of Glutamate. An incoming source of light causes, induced by the transmutation of cGMP to GMP, the closure if Na+ channels and so to a hyperpolarisation of the cone cell to about -50mV…

  • you have to differentiate between on and off Bipolar cells to understand, why one Bipolar cell responds with a depolarisation and the other with a hyperpolarisation…

    it’s like this… normal state of cone with no light is a membrane potential of about -30mV and a release of Glutamate. An incoming source of light causes, induced by the transmutation of cGMP to GMP, the closure if Na+ channels and so to a hyperpolarisation of the cone cell to about -50mV…

  • …this leads to a lower influx of Ca2+ and lower release of Glutamate.
    reaction (important part):
    on-bipolarcell > lower efflux of K+ and that leads to a depolarisation
    off-bipolarcell > lower influx of Na+ and that leads to a hyperpolarisation

    so in your example the center is build by on-bipolarcell and the surrounding by off-bipolarcells.

  • …this leads to a lower influx of Ca2+ and lower release of Glutamate.
    reaction (important part):
    on-bipolarcell > lower efflux of K+ and that leads to a depolarisation
    off-bipolarcell > lower influx of Na+ and that leads to a hyperpolarisation

    so in your example the center is build by on-bipolarcell and the surrounding by off-bipolarcells.

  • …this leads to a lower influx of Ca2+ and lower release of Glutamate.
    reaction (important part):
    on-bipolarcell > lower efflux of K+ and that leads to a depolarisation
    off-bipolarcell > lower influx of Na+ and that leads to a hyperpolarisation

    so in your example the center is build by on-bipolarcell and the surrounding by off-bipolarcells.

  • so my point…. it’s not on / off ganglion cell… it’s on/off bipolar cell…

    and together they build a On-ganglion cell (your example)

  • so my point…. it’s not on / off ganglion cell… it’s on/off bipolar cell…

    and together they build a On-ganglion cell (your example)

  • We do actually understand a lot of how the body works in broad detail. Horizontal cells do not connect to ganglion cells. They connect to on or off bipolar cells which then synapse with ganglion cells. The activity of the bipolar cells results from input into their receptive field (composed of direct input from photoreceptors and indirect input from horizontal cells) and then goes to ganglion cells both directly, and also indirectly via amacrine cells.

  • We do actually understand a lot of how the body works in broad detail. Horizontal cells do not connect to ganglion cells. They connect to on or off bipolar cells which then synapse with ganglion cells. The activity of the bipolar cells results from input into their receptive field (composed of direct input from photoreceptors and indirect input from horizontal cells) and then goes to ganglion cells both directly, and also indirectly via amacrine cells.

  • Am I understanding it right that When center is ON, Horizontal cells are inhibitory and inhibit transmission to Ganglion cells???

  • wtf i paid for your book, now you’re tellin me you didn’t do the research?! I basically purchased someone’s college notes?!?!? WHAT A RIPOFF!

  • Horiz. cells are always inhib?

    Photorep. in On-center and OFF-center both hyppol. when stim. by light.

    = DECREASE in Glutamate release

    The reaction of the bipolar cell DEPENDS on TYPE of glutamate receptor:

    mGLUR6-receptor = Inhib. effect on bipolar cell
    AMPA-receptor = Excitory. effect on bp cell

    ON-center photorecept. is tonically act., releasing Glutamate on BP cell. ON-center BP cells have INHIBITING receptors. Light hypol. photoreceptor. glutamate stopped = mGLUR6 stops inhib. BP-cell

  • and the glutamate has different effects on different bipolar cells, due to the bipolar cells possessing different glutamate receptors.

    mGlur6 – receptor acts inhibitory on bipolar cell

    Located in the ON-center pathway. The stim. photoreceptor stops releasing Glutamate, which stops the inhibitory effect of the mGLUR6-receptor on the bipolar cell. The bipolar cells tonic activity rises. The ganglion tonic action potential frequency rises. ???

    AMPA – receptor acts excitory on bipolar cell.

  • actually wikipedia is quite reliable when it comes down to it.

    The problem with accuracy is not due to the information being on a screen or on a piece of paper.

  • No. it’s the same connection as ON-center, OFF-surround.

    The different effect on bipolar cells and finally on the ganglion cells, is due to the bipolar cells expressing different types of Glutamate receptors. ON-center bipolar cells express mGLUR6-receptors which inhibit the bipolar cell. When light stimulates the photoreceptor and hyperpolarizes it, the tonic release of Glutamate onto the bipolar cell seizes. This STOPS the inhibitory effect of the mGLUR6-receptor located on the bipolar cell.

  • The Pathway is Photoreceptor – Bipolar Cell – Ganglion Cell.

    The different effects of ON-center or OFF-center bipolar cells or ganglion cells is due to the receptors expressed on the bipolar cells.

    Horizontal cells (and amacrine cells to some extent) are involved in LATERAL INHIBITION. This process is used by the retina cells in order to accentuate contrast, i e, borders of between light and dark objects in or visual field. I guess it’s why we can see a white paper on a white table with ease.

  • System is designed to react (max output) when there is a difference between the center and surround, for example when the center is stimulated by light, but not the surround or vice versa.

    The fields OVERLAP EXTENSIVELY. The greatness of it all is:

    1) Contrast is accentuated

    2) The cells are, on a low level, always active. From a low level, it is hard to code a decrease in light with lower levels. With both ON- and OFF-centers, that overlap. CHANGES are always coded with increase in firing.

  • inhibition accentuates borders in the visual field. It’s why you easily can follow borders of a white piece of paper lying on a white table. The nervous system likes to accentuate borders/changes so that we notice even fine change. The focus is on change itself. Compare w temp.

    When you sit in the hot tub, u almost feel pain as you get in. The body reacts sharply to the change of temperature. After a while the sensory system adapts and you relax. Changes seems to interest the sensory syst most.

  • Good video…but just FYI lateral connections between bipolar cells and ganglion cells happen through Amacrine cells and not horizontal cells
    Horizontal cells connect photoreceptors to bipolar cells

  • Thank you sooo much, i’m studying about this topic at university and this give me a CLEAR explanation ūüėÄ Great job!

  • Nicely done video, I learn about stuff like this to get ideas for experimental circuit designs. I found this valuable, thanks!!

  • this is great! i’m stuyding for my optometry boards exam and this was a great, succinct explanation!

  • Thanks for the videos. It would also be interesting to make an episode on “Saccadic” searching way of human vision.

  • I am using Guyton 12th edition and it says this: ” The Horizontal, which transmit signals horizontally in the outer plexiform layer from the rods and cones to the bipolar cells.” and “Bipolar cells, which transmit signals vertically from the rods, cones and horizontal cells to the inner plexiform layer, where they synapse with ganglion cells and amacrine cells”

  • Not as amazing as I thought doesn’t match my text book! :(((( learnt the incorrect pathway in my case ;;(((( I well I will just use this in exam of an essay comes… And say I didn’t use Purve Et al

  • Its really nice how you try to explain these potentially confusing detail, I commend that, however just 1 thing the issue about the horizontal cells, leading physiology texts such as Ganong, Gyton and Berne and Levy all says that they connect the rods and cones, bipolar and even interplexiform cells not the ganlion cell directly, the amacrine cells however do connect them as well as bipolar. what i suggest you can do is, put a pop up text saying the difference if you see other books differ.

  • And you are right, text books do have mistakes at times, but in this case i haven’t seen a difference with most of the major text. All the same what determines knowing the actual orientation of the cells is histology and electron M. So we must research.

  • So horizontal cells connect adjacent rods and cones? So does this mean if surround is off the horizontal cells give an inhibitory effect to the central on rods/cones? Please someone just explain the horizontal cells action in the more generally accepted textbooks.

  • Can you pls pls make a video with details about the 3 different types of ganglion cells ? Magno, Parvo and Konio ? I have an exam soon ! Pls help ūüėÄ ! Thx

  • I thought this was good to begin with but it is not accurate and I am confused now. Horizontal cells connect photoreceptors and are not far enough down to connect to ganglion cells. Which means this whole explanation does not make sense…….bipolar cells are on and off not ganglion cells and centre surround contrast is aided by horizontal cells acting on the photoreceptor…..please help.

  • this is incorrect. Horizontal cells make no direct synapses onto ganglion cells. They feed back onto photoreceptors.

  • CORRECTION: horizontal cells feed information laterally in the outer plexiform layer
    to influence the activity of neighboring bipolar cells and photoreceptors. It’s AMACRINE cells that modulate bipolar cells and ganglion cells in the inner plexiform layer.

  • There’s 2 types of bipolar cells.
    1)ON-center and
    2) OFF- center

    Neither the ON-center or OFF-center type of bipolar cell accommodates inhibition of photoreceptor Glu release. What happens is the OFF-center cells are depolarized due to Glu release and the ON- center cells are hyper-polarized.

  • From Adler’s Physiology of the Eye chapter 21 “direct current injection into non-mammalian HCs clearly shows an effective, low-frequency dominated, sustained path from HCs to GCs.” BOTH horizonatal and amacrine cells seem to be involved, and as stated in the video horizontal cells seem to connect to ganglion cells

  • My professor tried to explain this in class but I found this explanation with images very easy to understand. Thank you.

  • In Animal Physiology now and I was so lost. This doesn’t go into as much detail as our textbook (probably because you made this years ago) but it’s a start! Thank you! ūüôā

  • Why is on center off surround important? What does it do for our vision or perception? Could it have anything to do with edge enhancement as well as lateral inhibition?

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