Heterogeneity of Horizontal Cells in the Chicken Retina

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Despite numerous reports that different markers are expressed by horizontal cells in the avian retina, it remains unknown whether different types of horizontal cells can be defined by differences in their immunocytochemical profiles. The purpose of this study was to rectify this deficiency. We identified horizontal cells by indirect immunofluorescence with antibodies to calretinin, trkA, GABA, Prox1, AP2α, Pax6, islet1, and Lim1 + 2. We found two major groups of horizontal cells, those that express trkA and those that express calretinin. The trkA-immunoreactive (-IR) horizontal cells had small, round somata and robust, bulbous dendritic endings, whereas calretinin-IR horizontal cells had large, polygonal cell bodies and fine, diffuse dendritic endings, both contacting the calbindin-IR pedicles of double cones. Weak γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) immunoreactivity was observed only in a few of the trkA-IR horizontal cells, whereas the overlap of calretinin and GABA immunoreactivities was 100%. The majority of trkA-IR horizontal cells expressed islet1, and the majority of calretinin-IR horizontal cells expressed Lim1 + 2, AP2α, and Pax6. Islet1 immunoreactivity was observed in a small fraction of calretinin-IR/non-trkA-IR cells. In agreement with previous reports, we detected Prox1 immunoreactivity in all types of horizontal cells. These immunolabeling profiles suggest that there are four immunochemically distinct subtypes of horizontal cells in the postnatal chick retina, which may match the four types that have been observed in Golgi-impregnated pigeon and turtle retinas. J. Comp. Neurol. 500:1154–1171, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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