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J Neurosci. 1990 Dec;10(12):4006-34.

Patterns of glutamate immunoreactivity in the goldfish retina.

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University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Sensory Sciences Center, Houston 77030.


Postembedding silver-intensified immunogold procedures reveal high levels of glutamate immunoreactivity in "vertical" elements of the goldfish retina: (1) Red-sensitive and green-sensitive cones display strong glutamate immunoreactivity, especially in their synaptic terminals, but blue-sensitive cones are poorly immunoreactive. (2) All type Mb (on-center) and Ma (off-center) mixed rod-cone bipolar cells and all identifiable cone bipolar cells are highly glutamate immunoreactive. We find no evidence for bipolar cells that lack glutamate immunoreactivity. (3) The majority of the somas in the ganglion cell layer and certain large cells of the amacrine cell layer resembling displaced ganglion cells are strongly glutamate immunoreactive. (4) Despite their high affinity symport of acidic amino acids, the endogenous levels of glutamate in Müller's cells are among the lowest in the retina. (5) GABAergic neurons possess intermediate levels of glutamate immunoreactivity. Quantitative immunocytochemistry coupled with digital image analysis allows estimates of intracellular glutamate levels. Photoreceptors and bipolar and ganglion cells contain from 1 to 10 mM glutamate. The bipolar and ganglion cell populations maintain high intracellular glutamate concentrations, averaging about 5 mM, whereas red-sensitive and green-sensitive cones apparently maintain lower levels. Importantly, photoreceptor glutamate levels are extremely volatile, and in vitro maintenance is required to preserve cone glutamate immunoreactivity in the goldfish. GABAergic horizontal and amacrine cells contain about 0.3-0.7 mM glutamate, which matches the values predicted from the Km of glutamic acid decarboxylase. Müller's cells and non-GABAergic amacrine cells contain less than 0.1 mM glutamate. Though Müller's cells are known to possess potent glutamate symport, they clearly possess equally potent mechanisms for maintaining low intracellular glutamate concentrations.

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