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J Comp Neurol. 2000 May 22;421(1):1-13.

The dendritic architecture of the cholinergic plexus in the rabbit retina: selective labeling by glycine accumulation in the presence of sarcosine.

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Vision, Touch and Hearing Research Centre, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


The cholinergic amacrine cells in the rabbit retina slowly accumulate glycine to very high levels when the tissue is incubated with excess sarcosine (methylglycine), even though these cells do not normally contain elevated levels of glycine and do not express high-affinity glycine transporters. Because the sarcosine also depletes the endogenous glycine in the glycine-containing amacrine cells and bipolar cells, the cholinergic amacrine cells can be selectively labeled by glycine immunocytochemistry under these conditions. Incubation experiments indicated that the effect of sarcosine on the cholinergic amacrine cells is indirect: sarcosine raises the extracellular concentration of glycine by blocking its re-uptake by the glycinergic amacrine cells, and the excess glycine is probably taken-up by an unidentified low-affinity transporter on the cholinergic amacrine cells. Neurobiotin injection of the On-Off direction-selective (DS) ganglion cells in sarcosine-incubated rabbit retina was combined with glycine immunocytochemistry to examine the dendritic relationships between the DS ganglion cells and the cholinergic amacrine cells. These double-labeled preparations showed that the dendrites of the DS ganglion cells closely follow the fasciculated dendrites of the cholinergic amacrine cells. Each ganglion cell dendrite located within the cholinergic strata is associated with a cholinergic fascicle and, conversely, there are few cholinergic fascicles that do not contain at least one dendrite from an On-Off DS cell. It is not known how the dendritic co-fasciculation develops, but the cholinergic dendritic plexus may provide the initial scaffold, because the dendrites of the On-Off DS cells commonly run along the outside of the cholinergic fascicles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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