Wide-field diffuse amacrine cells in the monkey retina contain immunoreactive Cocaine- and Amphetamine-Regulated Transcript (CART)

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Abstract

The goals of this study were to localize the neuropeptide Cocaine- and Amphetamine-Regulated Transcript (CART) in primate retinas and to describe the morphology, neurotransmitter content and synaptic connections of the neurons that contain it. Using in situ hybridization, light and electron microscopic immunolabeling, CART was localized to GABAergic amacrine cells in baboon retinas. The CART-positive cells had thin, varicose dendrites that gradually descended through the inner plexiform layer and ramified extensively in the innermost stratum. They resembled two types of wide-field diffuse amacrine cells that had been described previously in macaque retinas using the Golgi method and also A17, serotonin-accumulating and waterfall cells of other mammals. The CART-positive cells received synapses from rod bipolar cell axons and made synapses onto the axons in a reciprocal configuration. The CART-positive cells also received synapses from other amacrine cells. Some of these were located on their primary dendrites, and the presynaptic cells there included dopaminergic amacrine cells. Although some CART-positive somas were localized in the ganglion cell layer, they did not contain the ganglion cell marker RNA binding protein with multiple splicing (RBPMS). Based on these results and electrophysiological studies in other mammals, the CART-positive amacrine cells would be expected to play a major role in the primary rod pathway of primates, providing feedback inhibition to rod bipolar cells.

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