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J Neurochem. 2001 Apr;77(2):452-65.

Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors are expressed in the chicken retina and by cultured retinal amacrine cells.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.


Glutamate is well established as an excitatory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate retina. Its role as a modulator of retinal function, however, is poorly understood. We used immunocytochemistry and calcium imaging techniques to investigate whether metabotropic glutamate receptors are expressed in the chicken retina and by identified GABAergic amacrine cells in culture. Antibody labeling for both metabotropic glutamate receptors 1 and 5 in the retina was consistent with their expression by amacrine cells as well as by other retinal cell types. In double-labeling experiments, most metabotropic glutamate receptor 1-positive cell bodies in the inner nuclear layer also label with anti-GABA antibodies. GABAergic amacrine cells in culture were also labeled by metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 and 5 antibodies. Metabotropic glutamate receptor agonists elicited Ca(2+) elevations in cultured amacrine cells, indicating that these receptors were functionally expressed. Cytosolic Ca(2+) elevations were enhanced by metabotropic glutamate receptor 1-selective antagonists, suggesting that metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 activity might normally inhibit the Ca(2+) signaling activity of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5. These results demonstrate expression of group I metabotropic glutamate receptors in the avian retina and suggest that glutamate released from bipolar cells onto amacrine cells might act to modulate the function of these cells.

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