Contrary to popular belief, chinchillas do not have a pure rod retina

Shai Sandalon, Anna Boykova, Maya Ross, Alexey Obolensky, Eyal Banin, Ron Ofri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: To establish whether there is cone contribution to retinal function and structure in chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera), in view of the prevailing notion that this species possesses a pure rod retina. Methods: Photopic electroretinography (ERG) responses to high-intensity flashes (10 and 25 cd*s/m2) were recorded unilaterally in six pigmented chinchillas following 10 minutes of light adaptation (30 cd/m2). Retinas of two animals were studied histologically, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) was conducted to detect the presence of short and medium/long wavelength cone photoreceptors. Results: ERG recordings revealed photopic responses, albeit of low amplitudes. Histopathology demonstrated presumptive cone inner segments in the photoreceptor layer. Presence of cone photoreceptors was confirmed by IHC. Cone density was higher in the central retina, and red/green cones outnumbered blue cones. Conclusions: Our results provide convincing evidence for the presence of functioning cone photoreceptors in the chinchilla retina, disproving the established belief that the species has a pure rod retina.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)93-97
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists


  • blue cones
  • diurnal
  • electroretinography
  • nocturnal
  • red/green cones


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