Anatomical and electrophysiological evidence for GABAergic bipolar cells in tiger salamander retina

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Abstract

Our previous work showed that about 12% of bipolar cells in salamander retina synthesize and take up γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), are GABA transporter (GAT)-immunoreactive, and respond with a GAT current to extracellularly applied GABA, suggesting that these bipolar cells use GABA, in addition to glutamate, as a neurotransmitter. Further support for this idea was obtained in this study by use of immunogold electron microscopy and whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology. Ultrastructural analysis showed that amacrine cell and ganglion cell processes were postsynaptic to GABA-immunoreactive synapses made by bipolar cell axon terminals. Whole-cell recordings were obtained from amacrine and ganglion cells in response to activation of bipolar cells by puffing KCl at their dendrites in the outer plexiform layer. Inhibitory postsynaptic currents were observed in several third order neurons, even after blocking the excitatory postsynaptic responses, generated in the inner plexiform layer, with a combined application of NMDA and non-NMDA receptor antagonists, AP-5 and CNQX. These ultrastructural and electrophysiological data support our previous neurochemical results, and suggest that the retinal through-information pathway in salamander includes both inhibitory GABAergic as well as excitatory glutamatergic synaptic mechanisms. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.

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Yang, C. Y., & Wang, H. H. (1999). Anatomical and electrophysiological evidence for GABAergic bipolar cells in tiger salamander retina. Vision Research, 39(22), 3653–3661. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0042-6989(99)00112-1

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