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Special senses

Departemen Fisiologi
Prof. Abdul Majid Fakultas Kedokteran
Universitas Sumatera Utara
and Vision

The retina is part of the central nervous system, consisting of

light-sensing neurons (rods and cones), interneurons (bipolar,
horizontal, and amacrine cells), and retinal ganglion cells that
provide the sole output to higher brain centers.

Retinal neurons and circuits are designed to provide information

on spatial and temporal visual novelty, and accomplish this by
filtering out absolute light intensity (brightness)and amplifying
spatial differences in light intensity (contrast) and temporal
differences in light intensity.

Color vision is accomplished by parallel processing of a light region

by cones possessing distinct photoreceptors with different
absorption spectra.

REQUIRED READING: Kandel text, Chapter 26

Anatomy of Human Eye
The Visual Pathway-CNS
Info about an image
transmitted to the brain
along the optic nerve
About 90% of the ganglion
cell axons go to the lateral
geniculate nucleus (LGN) in
the thalamus
Another population sends
info to both the superior
colliculi in the midbrain, to
control eye movements
A final population of ganglion
cells sends info to the
pretectum (pupillary reflex),
and to several nuclei
involved in the control of
circadian rhythms and sleep
The optic nerves from both
eyes meet and cross at the
optic chiasm, at the base of
The Visual Pathway-CNS
Info from both eyes is
combined and splits
according to the visual field
the right side of the visual
cortex deals with the left half of
the field of view from both eyes
the left side of the visual cortex
deals with the right half of the
field of view from both eyes
small region in the center
processed by both halves of the

The neurons of the LGN

relay the visual image to
the visual cortex which is
located at the rear of the
brain in the occipital lobe
above the cerebellum
The visual cortex is the
most massive system in
the human brain and is
responsible for higher-level
Visual field
Visual field is field of view that can be
seen without moving the head
The Retina
Located at the back of the posterior
chamber, forms the inner tunic of the
Surface on which the visual image is
Figure : The Organization of the Retina

Figure 17.6b, c
Gross Anatomy of Retina

Light ray
Figure : The Organization of the Retina

Figure 17.6a
The Retina
The design of the
retina is unusual.
Light must pass
through 8 layers
Before it hits the

The Retina
A laminar tissue with multiple
Pigment epithelium, photoreceptor layer,
external limiting membrane, outer nuclear
layer, outer plexiform layer, inner nuclear layer,
inner plexiform layer, ganglion cell layer,
optic nerve layer, internal limiting membrane.

Transduction takes place in the

Rods and cones
Retina contains rods and cones
Cones densely packed at fovea (center of
the macula lutea)
Retinal pathway
Photoreceptors to bipolar cells to ganglion
cells, to the brain via the optic nerve
Axons of ganglion cells converge at blind spot
(optic disc)
Horizontal cells and amacrine cells modify
the signal passed along the retinal neurons
Light hits the outer segment of rods and cones
which contain photosensitive chemicals
Rod-rhodopsin cones-iodopsin
The light changes the molecular properties of the
photopigments, which in turn changes the electrical
state of these cells this is called transduction.
Convert light into
electrical signals

For night vision
Do not signal wavelength
information (color)

For daylight and color
High threshold to light
Concentrated at the fovea

120 million rods in the human retina

Concentrated in the periphery of the
Approximately 6 million cones
Cones are packed densely in the
Cones are
connected to
bipolar cells,
then to retinal
ganglion cells
Few cones
converge onto a
single retinal
ganglion cell
As a result, resolution
is excellent
Humans have 3 different cone
types, each with a different

Photopigments are maximally

sensitive to specific wavelengths.
Short wavelength sensitive
Mid-wavelength sensitive
Long wavelength sensitive
gure : The Organization of the Retina

Ganglion axons membentuk optik nerve

Titik di retina tempat keluarnya saraf optikus dan lewatnya
pembuluh darah disebut Diskus optikus (bintik buta)
Pada fovea, cahaya yang masuk langsung mencapai
fotoreseptor tidak melalui lapisan ganglion dan bipolar ok
lapisan ganglion dan bipolar tertarik ke samping
Figure 17.6b, c
Pada fovea hanya ada sel
kerucut, sehingga titik ini
berfungsi untuk
penglihatan tajam.
Daerah tepat disekitar
fovea disebut makula lutea
Pada makula lutea, sel -sel
kerucut banyak, sehingga
ketajaman daerah ini
tinggi. Namun tidak lebih
besar daripada fovea ok
terdapat lapisan bipolar
dan sel-sel ganglion diatas
The Retina
The retina contains a central pit, above
which cell layers are pushed away.
The fovea: 1mm in diameter
Packed with cones
Fovea fov
At the center of the retina, ea
high acuity
Reduced light distortion

Retina consist of
three layers :
1. outer segment
(close to choroid)
2. midle segmen
Bipolar neuron
3. inner segment
Ganglion cell
Banyak mengandung fotopigmen
Terdiri atas protein enzimatik yaitu opsin
yang berikatan dengan retinen (derivat
vitamin A, red).
Retinen = 1 di sel batang
3 di masing-masing sel kerucut
(sel merah,hijau, biru)
No light

Concentration cGMP

Na+channels open in outer segmen

Membran depolarization

Spread to the terminal synaptic

Ca2+ channels open

Release neurotransmitter ((inhibitory neurotransmitter)

Bipolar cells inhibited

No action potential in ganglion cell

No action potential propagation to visual cortex

Activation o fotopigment (rod and cone)

Activation of transducin (G protein)


Na channel closure

Membran hyperpolarizasion (receptor potential)

Spread to the terminal synaps

Closure ca2+ channels

Release inhibitory neurotrasnmitter

Bipolar cell uninhibited

Graded potential change in bipolar cell

Action potential in ganglion cell

Visual cortex in the occipital lobe of the brain
Benda (memantulkan cahaya)cornea
lensa convergensi cahaya bayangan
jatuh tepat di retina (fovea) aktivasi
fotopigmen a aktivasi transducin
cGMP saluran Na+ tertutup
hyperpolarisasi membran Ca2+tertutup
Penghambatan pelepasan
Neurotransmitter action potential
bipolar cell graded potensial pada cell
ganglion N. Opticus Optic disc
chiasma opticum tractus geniculatus
lateral di thalamus lobus occipitalis area
17 diasosiakan ke area 18

- Break down of photopigment
during exposure of sunlight
fremendously decreases
photoreceptor sensitivity
-As a result, the sensitivity of our
eyes gradually increase u can
see in the dark
As some of photopigment are
rapidly brokendown by
intense light, the sensitivIty
of the eye decreases and
normal contras can once
again be detected.
Colour Vision
Sensitivity & Acuity
Colour Vision
Trichromatic theory of colour vision
There is only one type of rod and this responds
strongly to bluish-green light
Cones are divided into three categories, each of
which has a different sensitivity to light
There are red light receptors, green light receptors
and blue light receptors.
These cone sensitivities support the trichromatic
theory as all colours of the visible spectrum can be
seen by mixing the 3 primary colours (red, blue and
White objects reflect all colours to eye, black
absorbs all colours so no light to the eye.

Cone type = green, blue, red

A wave length perceived as blue
excite blue cone maximally does not
stimulate red or green cone at all.
White is a mixture of all wavelength of
Black is the absence of light.
We see the same color because we
have the same type of cone.
Pigment Anatomy

3 types of cones:
short (S), middle (M),
and long (L)
(S): 430 nm = blue
(M): 530 nm = green
(L): 560 nm = red

Color Percent maximum stimulation

perceive Red cones green cones blue
d cones
blue 0 0 100
green 31 67 36
red 83 83
Visible spectrum
Wavelengths of light absorbed
by different cones
Colour Blindness
If you have normal vision
you will see a figure seven
in reddish brown dots.
People with red-green
colour blindness will not
see the 7, why?
These people lack
red sensitive cones,
but the green
stimulated cones are
stimulated by the red
light, so all dots
appear green
Color vision
Uses three different photopigments :
blue, green and red

Wavelength of pigments may be shifted, causing

color blindness
Red green color blindness most common
Sex-linked trait carried on X chromosome
(Males only have one gene for color vision)
Thank You
Color sensitivity

Integration of information from

red, blue and green cones
Colorblindness is the inability to
detect certain colors
retinal adaptation

Dark adapted most visual

pigments are fully receptive to
Light adapted pupil constricts
and pigments bleached.
Figure : Photoreception

PLAYAnimation: Photoreception
Figure 17.14a, b
Figure : Photoreception

Figure 17.14c, d
Figure : Bleaching and Regeneration of Visual

Figure 17.15
the visual pathway

Large M-cells monitor rods

Smaller more numerous P cells
monitor cones
Figure : Convergence and Ganglion Cell

Figure 17.18
Seeing in stereo

Vision from the field of view

transfers from one side to the
other while in transit
Depth perception is obtained by
comparing relative positions of
objects from the two eyes
Photoreceptor Population and
One type of rod monochromatic dark-
adapted vision; rods outnumber cones

3 subtypes of cones (S, M, L)

responsible for color-sensitive vision in
brighter light
Elongated cells with synaptic terminals
and inner segment and outer segments
Inner segment- nucleus and
Outer segment-synthesizes
site, last part to see the
funnels photons to the outer segment
light, highly modified cilium
Contains 1000 disk membranes- flattened organelles
pinched off from outer membrane that contain the rhodopsin
Photoreceptor Function
Phototransduction involves a cascade of chemical and
electrical events to detect, amplify, and signal a
response to light
Use receptor potentials to carry the visual signal from
the outer segment to their synapses
Occurs through the process of hyperpolarization,
changing the voltage potential of the membrane to be
more negative than its resting potential
Hyperpolarization directly modulates the rate of
transmitter (glutamate) release from the PR onto its
postsynaptic neurons
The receptors are set up to release more glutamate
upon depolarization and less during hyperpolarization,
Photoreceptor Function
1. In the dark, each PR produces a
current that flows out of the inner
and into the outer segment
Current carried by inwardly-directed Na ions in
the outer segment and outwardly-directed K
ions from the inner segment
Na flows through a nonselective cation
channel, which light indirectly regulates, K
flows through a K channel which light does not
Na carries 90% of the dark current and 10%
by Ca
2. Na-K pumps in the inner segment
removes the Na and imports K. A Na-
Ca exchanger removes Ca from the
outer segment
3. Absorption of photons leads to
closure of the nonselective cation
channels in the outer segment, while
Photoreceptor Function
4. The total conductance of the
cell decreases as K continues to
flow out of the cell, creating an
outward current that causes the
cell to hyperpolarize

The number of cation channels

that close depends on the
number of photons that are
The range if one rods
sensitivity is from one to 1000
photons-cones are less
The photon is absorbed by rhodopsin, the light
receptor molecule tightly-packed in the disk

One rod contains 10 billion rhodopsin molecules,

which ensures an optimum photon capture rate
Rhodopsin has 2
Retinal- Vitamin A aldehyde
Opsin- single polypeptide
containing 7
transmembrane domains
1. Kinked 11-cis retinal is
Transduction covalently bound to opsin
in the dark

2. When retinal absorbs a

photon it isomerizes to all-
trans retinal which triggers
opsin to form
metarhodopsin II

3. Metarhodopsin II activates
transducin that carries the
signal forward in the
cascade and causes a
reduction in Na

4. All-trans retinal separates

from opsin in a process
called bleaching which
Defects in Color Vision
Dichromacy- lack of 1 type of normally-
function cones
Anomalous trichromacy- shift in the
normal spectrum, typically from
homologous recombination on the
Red-green color blindness- men that only have 1
copy of the L-cone gene typically have 3 copies of
M, HR results in an L-M hybrid
Monochromacy- lack of 2 of the 3 types of
cones, very rare, less than 0.001% of the
S-cone monochromacy- rare X-linked disorder in
which the L and M cones are missing because of
Retinal Pathology
Kiasma optikum
(Optic chiasma)
Visual circadian rhythm

Input to suprachiasmic nucleus

affects the function of the
Circadian rhythm ties to day-
night cycle, and affects
metabolic rates