A17: a broad-field amacrine cell in the rod system of the cat retina.
ABSTRACT A17 amacrine cells of the cat retina have been penetrated with horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-filled microelectrodes and their light responses recorded. These cells depolarize in sustained fashion to steps of light. Viewed in retinal wholemounts, HRP-injected cells have a spokelike radiating splay of very fine dendrites (0.1 micron diam) passing diffusely through all strata of the inner plexiform layer (IPL) to run primarily in strata 4 and 5. There are as many as 1,000 large, regularly spaced beads borne on the 500- to 1,200-micron diameter dendritic field. Cell body sizes range from 9 to 13 micron. In the electron microscope, the dendritic beads in sublamina b of the IPL are seen to synapse reciprocally with rod bipolar axon terminals. Dendritic beads in sublamina a rarely make synapses, but between the beads in this layer, input from at least three distinctive amacrine profiles occurs. Though diffuse at the light microscopic level, A17 thus appears to be structurally bistratified, with amacrine input in sublamina a and bipolar input in sublamina b. It is likely that A17 can be identified with AI. A17 signals are driven almost exclusively by rods. The spectral sensitivity peaks at 507 nm, identical with that of pigment epithelial cells. Light adaptation abolishes all but a small hyperpolarizing component of the signal. The overall intensity-response range is similar to that of AII amacrine cells. When receptive fields of A17 cells are mapped with slit stimuli, a broad, single-component curve is measured approximately covering the dendritic field. The receptive field is well described by a linear electrical model with a mean space constant of 259 +/- 97 micron (SD). On the other hand, responses to centered slit stimuli of varying width yielded space constants of only 38 +/- 29 micron. A17 amacrines are thus broad-field components of the cat's rod system but with very little capacity for spatial integration. Receptive-field measurements are not supportive of the notion of isolated dendritic regions.
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ABSTRACT: Extracellular adenosine 5'-triphosphate (eATP) acts as a neurotransmitter within the retina and brain, activating a range of ionotropic P2X and metabotropic P2Y receptors. In this study, the specific localization of the P2X4 receptor (P2X4-R) subunit was evaluated in the retina using fluorescence immunohistochemistry and pre-embedding immuno-electron microscopy. Punctate P2X4-R labeling was largely localized to the inner and outer plexiform layers of mouse, rat and cat retinae. In the mouse outer retina, double-labeling of the P2X4-R with the horizontal cell marker, calbindin, revealed P2X4-R immunoreactivity on horizontal cell somata and processes. In the inner retina, P2X4-R expression was found closely associated with rod and cone bipolar cell terminals, and the punctate labeling was observed on calretinin-positive amacrine cells. Using immuno-electron microscopy, P2X4-Rs were observed on processes post-synaptic to photoreceptor and bipolar cell terminals, likely representing horizontal, amacrine and ganglion cells, respectively. Furthermore, P2X4-R expression was also observed on Müller cells, astrocytes and microglia. These data suggest a role for P2X4-Rs in the lateral inhibitory pathways of the retina, modulating neuronal function of photoreceptors and bipolar cells. The expression on macro- and microglial cells implicates a role for P2X4-Rs in glial signaling, tissue homeostasis and immunosurveillance within the mammalian retina.Neuroscience 07/2014; 277. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.06.055 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: eLife digest The human eye is capable of detecting a single photon of starlight. This level of sensitivity is made possible by the high sensitivity of photoreceptors called rods. There are around 120 million rods in the retina, and they support vision in levels of light that are too low to activate the photoreceptors called cones that allow us to see in color. This is why we cannot see colors in the dark. Signals are relayed through the retina via a circuit made up of multiple types of neurons. The activation of rods leads to activation of cells known as ‘rod bipolar cells’ which, in turn, activate amacrine cells and ganglion cells, with the latter sending signals via the optic nerve to the brain. All of these neurons communicate with one another at junctions called synapses. Activation of a rod bipolar cell, for example, triggers the release of molecules called neurotransmitters: these molecules bind to and activate receptors on the amacrine cells, enabling the signal to be transmitted. For the brain to detect that a single photon has struck a rod, the eye must transmit information along this chain of neurons in a way that is highly reliable while adding very little noise to the signal. Grimes et al. have now revealed a key step in how this is achieved. Electrical recordings from the mouse retina revealed that, in the dark, small fluctuations in the activity of rod bipolar cells lead to the near-deterministic release of neurotransmitters. This reduces the impact of random fluctuations in neurotransmitter release produced at individual synapses and ensures that the signals from rod bipolar cells (and thus from rods) are transmitted faithfully through the circuit with minimal added noise. As light levels increase, this tight synchrony of transmitter release breaks down, reducing the sensitivity to individual photons. Given that many other brain regions share the features that enable retinal cells to coordinate the release of neurotransmitters, this mechanism might be used throughout the brain to increase the signal-to-noise ratio for the transmission of information through neural circuits. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03892.002eLife Sciences 09/2014; 3:e03892. DOI:10.7554/eLife.03892 · 8.52 Impact Factor