Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The localisation of GABA immunoreactive neurones in retinas of a variety of animals was examined. Immunoreactivity was associated with specific populations of amacrine neurones in all species examined, viz. rat, rabbit, goldfish, frog, pigeon and guinea-pig. All species, with the exception of the frog, possessed immunoreactive perikarya in their retinal ganglion cell layers. These perikarya are probably displaced amacrine cells because GABA immunoreactivity was absent from the optic nerves and destruction of the rat optic nerve did not result in degeneration of these cells. GABA immunoreactivity was also associated with the outer plexiform layers of all the retinas studied; these processes are derived from GABA-positive horizontal cells in rat, rabbit, frog, pigeon and goldfish retinas, from bipolar-like cells in the frog, and probably from interplexiform cells in the guinea-pig retina. The development of GABA-positive neurones in the rabbit retina was also analysed. Immunoreactivity was clearly associated with subpopulations of amacrine and horizontal cells on the second postnatal day. The immunoreactivity at this stage is strong, and fairly well developed processes are apparent. The intensity of the immunoreactivity increases with development in the case of the amacrine cells. The immunoreactive neurones appear fully developed at about the 8th postnatal day, although the immunoreactivity in the inner plexiform layer becomes more dispersed as development proceeds. The immunoreactive horizontal cells become less apparent as development proceeds, but they can still be seen in the adult retina. The GABA immunoreactive cells in rabbit retinas can be maintained in culture. Cultures of retinal cells derived from 2-day-old animals can be maintained for up to 20 days and show the presence of GABA-positive cells at all stages. In one-day-old cultures the GABA immunoreactive cells lacked processes but within three days had clearly defined processes. After maintenance for 10 days a meshwork of GABA-positive fibres could also be seen in the cultures.
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