Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 70
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Fu, Zhongjie Gong, Yan Löfqvist, Chatarina Hellström, Ann and Smith, Lois E.H. 2016. Review: adiponectin in retinopathy. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease, Vol. 1862, Issue. 8, p. 1392.

    Masuda, Takamasa Wada, Yasutaka and Kawamura, Satoru 2016. ES1 is a mitochondrial enlarging factor contributing to form mega-mitochondria in zebrafish cones. Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, p. 22360.

    Narayan, Daniel S. Wood, John P. M. Chidlow, Glyn and Casson, Robert J. 2016. A review of the mechanisms of cone degeneration in retinitis pigmentosa. Acta Ophthalmologica,

    Sivaprasad, S and Arden, G 2016. Spare the rods and spoil the retina: revisited. Eye, Vol. 30, Issue. 2, p. 189.

    Tao, Lingwei William Wu, Zhichao Guymer, Robyn H and Luu, Chi D 2016. Ellipsoid zone on optical coherence tomography: a review. Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology, Vol. 44, Issue. 5, p. 422.

    Flores, Mathieu Debellemanière, Guillaume Bully, Alois Meillat, Mathieu Tumahai, Perle Delbosc, Bernard and Saleh, Maher 2015. Reflectivity of the Outer Retina on Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography as a Predictor of Photoreceptor Cone Density. American Journal of Ophthalmology, Vol. 160, Issue. 3, p. 588.

    Hurley, James B. Lindsay, Kenneth J. and Du, Jianhai 2015. Glucose, lactate, and shuttling of metabolites in vertebrate retinas. Journal of Neuroscience Research, Vol. 93, Issue. 7, p. 1079.

    Kern, Timothy S and Berkowitz, Bruce A 2015. Photoreceptors in diabetic retinopathy. Journal of Diabetes Investigation, Vol. 6, Issue. 4, p. 371.

    Liang, Anhui Hu, Leiting and Liang, Zhimin 2015. Mode-Field-Diameter and the Coupling Loss between Inner and Outer Segment of Photoreceptors. Optics and Photonics Journal, Vol. 05, Issue. 04, p. 151.

    Liu, Zhuolin Kocaoglu, Omer P. Turner, Timothy L. and Miller, Donald T. 2015. Modal content of living human cone photoreceptors. Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 6, Issue. 9, p. 3378.

    McLeod, David and Beatty, Stephen 2015. Evidence for an enduring ischaemic penumbra following central retinal artery occlusion, with implications for fibrinolytic therapy. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, Vol. 49, p. 82.

    Nakao, Shintaro Kaizu, Yoshihiro Yoshida, Shigeo Iida, Tomohiro and Ishibashi, Tatsuro 2015. Spontaneous remission of acute zonal occult outer retinopathy: follow-up using adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy. Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, Vol. 253, Issue. 6, p. 839.

    Schaal, Karen B. Freund, K. Bailey Litts, Katie M. Zhang, Yuhua Messinger, Jeffrey D. and Curcio, Christine A. 2015. OUTER RETINAL TUBULATION IN ADVANCED AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION. Retina, Vol. 35, Issue. 7, p. 1339.

    Spaide, Richard F. Klancnik, James M. Cooney, Michael J. Yannuzzi, Lawrence A. Balaratnasingam, Chandrakumar Dansingani, Kunal K. and Suzuki, Mihoko 2015. Volume-Rendering Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography of Macular Telangiectasia Type 2. Ophthalmology, Vol. 122, Issue. 11, p. 2261.

    Wilby, David Toomey, Matthew B. Olsson, Peter Frederiksen, Rikard Cornwall, M. Carter Oulton, Ruth Kelber, Almut Corbo, Joseph C. and Roberts, Nicholas W. 2015. Optics of cone photoreceptors in the chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus). Journal of The Royal Society Interface, Vol. 12, Issue. 111, p. 20150591.

    Xiong, Wenjun MacColl Garfinkel, Alexandra E. Li, Yiqing Benowitz, Larry I. and Cepko, Constance L. 2015. NRF2 promotes neuronal survival in neurodegeneration and acute nerve damage. Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vol. 125, Issue. 4, p. 1433.

    Zhou, Zhenqing Vinberg, Frans Schottler, Frank Doggett, Teresa A Kefalov, Vladimir J and Ferguson, Thomas A 2015. Autophagy supports color vision. Autophagy, Vol. 11, Issue. 10, p. 1821.

    Pikuleva, Irina A. and Curcio, Christine A. 2014. Cholesterol in the retina: The best is yet to come. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, Vol. 41, p. 64.

    TARBOUSH, R. NOVALES FLAMARIQUE, I. CHAPMAN, G.B. and CONNAUGHTON, V.P. 2014. Variability in mitochondria of zebrafish photoreceptor ellipsoids. Visual Neuroscience, Vol. 31, Issue. 01, p. 11.

    de Laat, Paul Smeitink, Jan A.M. Janssen, Mirian C.H. Keunen, Jan E.E. and Boon, Camiel J.F. 2013. Mitochondrial Retinal Dystrophy Associated with the m.3243A>G Mutation. Ophthalmology, Vol. 120, Issue. 12, p. 2684.


Photoreceptor inner segments in monkey and human retina: Mitochondrial density, optics, and regional variation

  • Q.V. HOANG (a1) (a2), R.A. LINSENMEIER (a1) (a3) (a4), C.K. CHUNG (a1) and C.A. CURCIO (a5)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 30 October 2002

The present work quantifies aspects of photoreceptor structure related to mitochondria, inner segment dimensions, and optical properties, as a basis for furthering our understanding of rod and cone function. Electron-microscopic analyses were performed on the retina of one stumptail macaque (Macaca arctoides) to obtain stereological measurements of ellipsoid mitochondrial density, and sizes and shapes of outer and inner segments. In addition, the distribution of mitochondria and the optical properties of human foveal cones were examined with electron microscopy and Nomarski differential interference contrast (NDIC) imaging. Mitochondria comprised 74–85% of cone ellipsoids and 54–66% of rod ellipsoids in macaque. Ellipsoid volume increased with eccentricity by 2.4-fold for rods and more than 6-fold for cones over eccentricities to 12.75 mm, while the volume of the outer segment supported by the ellipsoid was essentially constant for both rods and cones. Per unit volume of outer segment, cones contained ten times as much mitochondria as rods. In human fovea, as in the rest of the retina, most cone mitochondria were located in the distal inner segment. In the foveal center, however, there are also mitochondria in the myoid, as well as in the outer fiber, proximal to the external limiting membrane (ELM). Analyses of the optical aperture of human foveal cones, the point at which their refractive index clearly differs from the extrareceptoral space, showed that it correlated well with the location of mitochondria, except in the foveal center, where the aperture appeared proximal to the ELM. While mitochondria have an important metabolic function, we suggest that the striking differences between rods and cones in mitochondrial content are unlikely to be determined by metabolic demand alone. The numerous cone mitochondria may enhance the waveguide properties of cones, particularly in the periphery.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Robert A. Linsenmeier, Biomedical Engineering Department, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, IL 60208-3107, USA. E-mail:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Visual Neuroscience
  • ISSN: 0952-5238
  • EISSN: 1469-8714
  • URL: /core/journals/visual-neuroscience
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *