Journal of Neurocytology

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 26-38

First online:

Quantitative analysis of GABA-immunoreactive synapses in the inner plexiform layer of theBufo marinus retina: identification of direct output to ganglion cells and contacts with dopaminergic amacrine cells

  • R. GábrielAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy & Histology, School of Medicine, The Flinders University of South Australia
  • , C. StraznickyAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy & Histology, School of Medicine, The Flinders University of South Australia

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We have recently reported that about 50% of amacrine cells and some of the bipolar and ganglion cells are GABA-immunoreactive in the retina ofBufo marinus. Synapses formed by these elements in the inner plexiform layer were studied. GABA-immunoreactive amacrine cell processes were found most frequently in synaptic contact with non-immunoreactive amacrine cells. Double-label experiments showed that some of these non-GABA-immunoreactive elements contain tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity. Another source of input to the GABA-immunoreactive amacrine cells were the bipolar cells; some of which were GABA-immunoreactive. GABA-immunoreactive amacrine cells synapsed also onto bipolar cell terminals, and ganglion cell dendrites that were identified by the retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase from the optic nerve. Synapses between GABA-immunoreactive amacrine cells and bipolar and ganglion cells were non-uniformly distributed in the inner plexiform layer. Synaptic contacts with bipolar cells were more frequent in the OFF-sublamina, and those with ganglion cell dendrites in the ON-sublamina. These results demonstrate that GABA-immunoreactive amacrine cells (1) preferentially synapse with OFF-responding bipolar and ON-centre ganglion cells in the through-pathway, (2) synapse with tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive amacrine cells in both the OFF- and ON-sublaminae, and (3) synapse directly with GABA-immunoreactive ganglion cells. The synapses between GABA-immunoreactive amacrine and GABA-immunoreactive ganglion cells may inhibit the centrally projecting inhibitory ganglion cells, causing disinhibition in the visual centres.