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Early appearance and transient expression of putative amino acid neurotransmitters and related molecules in the developing rabbit retina: An immunocytochemical study

  • D.V. Pow (a1), O.K. Crook (a1) and R.O.L. Wong (a1)


We have studied, by immunocytochemistry, the ontogeny of GABA, glycine, glutamate, glutamine, and taurine-containing cells in the rabbit retina. Amacrine cells show GABA immunoreactivity by embryonic day 25 (E25) and throughout postnatal life. By contrast, ganglion cells and horizontal cells are only transiently GABA-immunoreactive (-IR); few appear GABA-IR by the third postnatal week. At maturity, glycine is present in amacrine cells and in some bipolar cells. During development, putative ganglion cells transiently contained glycine between E25 and postnatal day 3 (P3), whereas immunolabelling in presumed amacrine cells and bipolar cells persists after birth. Ganglion cells, bipolar cells, photoreceptors, and some amacrine cells are glutamate-IR in the adult retina. Glutamate immunoreactivity first appears in the somata and processes of cytoblastic cells by E20 and is prominent by E25. Surprisingly, ganglion cells are not strongly glutamate-IR until just before eye-opening, at postnatal day 10 (P10), coincident with the appearance of glutamine in their somata and in Müller glial cells. Bipolar cells are glutamate-IR before they or Müller cells contain high levels of glutamine (at P10). Glutamate immunoreactivity in photoreceptors is progressively restricted to the inner segments by eye-opening. At no stage are presumed horizontal cells glutamate-IR or glutamine-IR, but some amacrine cells show glutamate- and glutamine-IR by P10. Taurine is localized to photoreceptors and Müller glial in the adult retina. Some cytoblasts are taurine-IR at E20; with ensuing development, taurine labelling becomes restricted primarily to Müller cells and photoreceptors; some putative bipolar cells may also be labelled. However, for a few days around birth, cells resembling horizontal cells, also show taurine immunoreactivity. The early appearance and often transient expression of these amino acids in retinal cells suggests that these neuroactive molecules may be involved in the structural and functional development of the retina.



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Early appearance and transient expression of putative amino acid neurotransmitters and related molecules in the developing rabbit retina: An immunocytochemical study

  • D.V. Pow (a1), O.K. Crook (a1) and R.O.L. Wong (a1)


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