Canine retina has a primate fovea-like bouquet of cone photoreceptors which is affected by inherited macular degenerations. Academic Article uri icon


  • Retinal areas of specialization confer vertebrates with the ability to scrutinize corresponding regions of their visual field with greater resolution. A highly specialized area found in haplorhine primates (including humans) is the fovea centralis which is defined by a high density of cone photoreceptors connected individually to interneurons, and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) that are offset to form a pit lacking retinal capillaries and inner retinal neurons at its center. In dogs, a local increase in RGC density is found in a topographically comparable retinal area defined as the area centralis. While the canine retina is devoid of a foveal pit, no detailed examination of the photoreceptors within the area centralis has been reported. Using both in vivo and ex vivo imaging, we identified a retinal region with a primate fovea-like cone photoreceptor density but without the excavation of the inner retina. Similar anatomical structure observed in rare human subjects has been named fovea-plana. In addition, dogs with mutations in two different genes, that cause macular degeneration in humans, developed earliest disease at the newly-identified canine fovea-like area. Our results challenge the dogma that within the phylogenetic tree of mammals, haplorhine primates with a fovea are the sole lineage in which the retina has a central bouquet of cones. Furthermore, a predilection for naturally-occurring retinal degenerations to alter this cone-enriched area fills the void for a clinically-relevant animal model of human macular degenerations.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 45.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Beltran, W. A., Cideciyan, A. V., Guziewicz, K. E., Iwabe, S., Swider, M., Scott, E. M., ... Aguirre, G. D.

citation count

  • 90

complete list of authors

  • Beltran, William A||Cideciyan, Artur V||Guziewicz, Karina E||Iwabe, Simone||Swider, Malgorzata||Scott, Erin M||Savina, Svetlana V||Ruthel, Gordon||Stefano, Frank||Zhang, Lingli||Zorger, Richard||Sumaroka, Alexander||Jacobson, Samuel G||Aguirre, Gustavo D

editor list (cited editors)

  • Swaroop, A.

publication date

  • March 2014