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Neuroscience. 1989;33(1):229-40.

A system of corticotropin releasing factor-containing amacrine cells in the rat retina.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, NY 14642.


Immunohistochemical processing of Long-Evans retina wholemounts using an antiserum directed against rat, human corticotropin releasing factor revealed a group of immunoreactive amacrine cells. Two subpopulations could be distinguished based primarily on the location of their cell bodies. One subpopulation had cell bodies situated along the junction of the inner nuclear layer and the inner plexiform layer. The other subpopulation had cell bodies in the ganglion cell layer. The latter was judged to be displaced amacrine cells since double-label experiments indicated that the pattern of corticotropin releasing factor-like immunoreactive staining in the ganglion cell layer did not coincide with that of ganglion cells labeled retrogradely with fluorogold. Corticotropin releasing factor-like immunoreactive amacrine cells on either side of the inner plexiform layer emitted processes which ramified extensively in sublamina 5 and, to a lesser degree, in sublamina 4. A minority of these cells also sent a single process to ramify in sublamina 1. Throughout the retina, corticotropin releasing factor-like immunoreactive cells were distributed relatively evenly, with a tendency to peak in the superior temporal region. Despite the anatomical classification into two subpopulations, it is proposed that the corticotropin releasing factor-like immunoreactive cells are functionally one system, influencing preferentially synaptic interactions associated with the inner half of the inner plexiform layer. The results of this study provide anatomical basis for further investigations of corticotropin releasing factor as a putative peptidergic neurotransmitter in the retina.

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