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Vis Neurosci. 1999 May-Jun;16(3):483-90.

Immunocytochemical localization of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the zebrafish retina.

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Laboratory of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-4066, USA.


The patterns of glutamate, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glycine distribution in the zebrafish retina were determined using immunocytochemical localization of antisera at the light-microscope level. The observed GABA immunoreactivity (GABA-IR) patterns were further characterized using antibodies to both isoforms of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65 and GAD67), the synthetic enzyme for GABA. Glutamate-IR was observed in all retinal layers with photoreceptors, bipolar cells, and ganglion cells prominently labeled. Bipolar cells displayed the most intense glutamate-IR and bipolar cell axon terminals were clearly identified as puncta arranged in layers throughout the inner plexiform layer (IPL). These findings suggest the presence of multiple subtypes of presumed OFF- and ON-bipolar cells, including some ON-bipolar cells characterized by a single, large (9 microm X 6 microm) axon terminal. GABA-, GAD-, and glycine-IR were most intense in the inner retina. In general, the observed labeling patterns for GABA, GAD65, and GAD67 were similar. GABA- and GAD-IR were observed in a population of amacrine cells, a few cells in the ganglion cell layer, throughout the IPL, and in horizontal cells. In the IPL, both GABA- and GAD-IR structures were organized into two broad bands. Glycine-IR was observed in amacrine cells, interplexiform cells, and in both plexiform layers. Glycine-positive terminals were identified throughout the IPL, with a prominent band in sublamina 3 corresponding to an immunonegative region observed in sections stained for GAD and GABA. Our results show the distribution of neurons in the zebrafish retina that use glutamate, GABA, or glycine as their neurotransmitter. The observed distribution of neurotransmitters in the inner retina is consistent with previous studies of other vertebrates and suggests that the advantages of zebrafish for developmental studies may be exploited for retinal studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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