Morphological properties of medial amygdala-projecting retinal ganglion cells in the Mongolian gerbil
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The amygdala is a limbic structure that is involved in many brain functions, including emotion, learning and memory. It has been reported that melanopsin-expressing retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) innervate the medial amygdala (MeA). However, whether conventional RGCs (cRGCs) project to the MeA remains unknown. The goal of this study was to determine if cRGCs project to the MeA and to determine the morphological properties of MeA-projecting RGCs (MeA-RGCs). Retrogradely labeled RGCs in whole-mount retinas were intracellularly injected to reveal their dendritic morphologies. Immunohistochemical staining was performed to selectively label ipRGCs (MeA-ipRGCs) and cRGCs (MeA-cRGCs). The results showed that 95.7% of the retrogradely labeled cells were cRGCs and that the rest were ipRGCs. Specifically, MeA-cRGCs consist of two morphological types. The majority of them exhibit small but dense dendritic fields and diffuse ramification patterns as previously reported in RGB2 (95%), while the rest exhibit small but sparse dendritic branching patterns resembling those of RGB3 cells (5%). MeA-ipRGCs consist of M1 and M2 subtypes. The MeA-RGCs showed an even retinal distribution patterns. The soma and dendritic field sizes of the MeA-RGCs did not vary with eccentricity. In conclusion, the present results suggest that MeA-RGCs are structurally heterogeneous. These direct RGCs that input to the MeA could be important for regulating amygdala functions.
Keywordsmorphology properties medial amygdala retinal ganglion cell Mongolian gerbil
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This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (81401102 to Liju Luan), National Nature Science Foundation of China (31571091 to Mingliang Pu) and the National Basic Research Program of China (2016CB351806 to Mingliang Pu)
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