The Cone Pedicle, the First Synapse in the Retina

  • Heinz Wässle
  • Silke Haverkamp
  • Ulrike Grünert
  • Catherine W. Morgans
Conference paper
Part of the Keio University International Symposia for Life Sciences and Medicine book series (KEIO, volume 11)


Cone pedicles are the output synapses of cone photoreceptors and transfer the light signal onto the dendrites of bipolar and horizontal cells. In the macaque monkey retina, cone pedicles contain between 20 and 45 ribbon synapses (triads), which are the release sites for glutamate, the cone transmitter [11, 13, 19, 22, 41]. Triads comprise a presynaptic ribbon, two horizontal dendrites as lateral elements, and one or two ON-cone bipolar cell dendrites as central elements (Fig. 1). Flat contacts are formed in most instances by the dendrites of OFF-cone bipolar cells at the cone pedicle base [19]. Glutamate released continuously at the synaptic ribbons acts not only through direct contacts but to an even greater extent through diffusion to the appropriate glutamate receptors (GluRs) [72].

Key words

Cone synapse Synaptic ribbon Glutamate receptor Bipolar cell Horizontal cell 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heinz Wässle
    • 1
  • Silke Haverkamp
    • 1
  • Ulrike Grünert
    • 2
  • Catherine W. Morgans
    • 3
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institute for Brain ResearchFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Neurological Science InstituteOregon Health and Science UniversityBeavertonUSA

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