A number of authors have observed amacrine cells containing high levels of immunoreactive parvalbumin in primate retinas. The experiments described here were designed to identify these cells morphologically, to determine their neurotransmitter, to record their light responses, and to describe the other cells that they contact. Macaque retinas were fixed in paraformaldehyde and labeled with antibodies to parvalbumin and one or two other markers, and this double- and triple-labeled material was analyzed by confocal microscopy. In their morphology and dendritic stratification patterns, the parvalbumin-positive cells closely resembled the knotty type 2 amacrine cells described using the Golgi method in macaques. They contained immunoreactive glycine transporter, but not immunoreactive γ-aminobutyric acid, and therefore, they use glycine as their neurotransmitter. Their spatial density was relatively high, roughly half that of AII amacrine cells. They contacted lobular dendrites of AII cells, and they are expected to be presynaptic to AII cells based on earlier ultrastructural studies. They also made extensive contacts with axon terminals of OFF midget bipolar cells whose polarity cannot be predicted with certainty. A macaque amacrine cell of the same morphological type depolarized at the onset of increments in light intensity, and it was well coupled to other amacrine cells. Previously, we described amacrine cells like these that contacted OFF parasol ganglion cells and OFF starburst amacrine cells. Taken together, these findings suggest that one function of these amacrine cells is to inhibit the transmission of signals from rods to OFF bipolar cells via AII amacrine cells. Another function may be inhibition of the OFF pathway following increments in light intensity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems