The shapes and numbers of amacrine cells: matching of photofilled with Golgi-stained cells in the rabbit retina and comparison with other mammalian species

J Comp Neurol. 1999 Oct 18;413(2):305-26.


Amacrine cells of the rabbit retina were studied by "photofilling" a photochemical method in which a fluorescent product is created within an individual cell by focal irradiation of the nucleus; and by Golgi impregnation. The photofilling method is quantitative, allowing an estimate of the frequency of the cells. The Golgi method shows their morphology in better detail. The photofilled sample consisted of 261 cells that were imaged digitally in through-focus series from a previous study (MacNeil and Masland [1998] Neuron 20:971-982). The Golgi material consisted of 49 retinas that were stained as wholemounts. Eleven of these subsequently were cut in vertical section. Of the many hundreds of cells stained, digital through-focus series were recorded for 208 of the Golgi-impregnated cells. The two methods were found to confirm one another: Most cells revealed by photofilling were recognized easily by Golgi staining, and vice versa. The greater resolution of the Golgi method allowed a more precise description of the cells and several types of amacrine cell were redefined. Two new types were identified. The two methods, taken together, provide an essentially complete accounting of the populations of amacrine cells present in the rabbit retina. Many of them correspond to amacrine cells that have been described in other mammalian species, and these homologies are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Diffusion
  • Fluorescent Dyes / radiation effects
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Interneurons / classification
  • Interneurons / cytology*
  • Interneurons / radiation effects
  • Mammals / anatomy & histology
  • Photochemistry
  • Rabbits / anatomy & histology*
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Rhodamine 123
  • Rhodamines / radiation effects
  • Silver Staining
  • Species Specificity


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Rhodamines
  • dihydrorhodamine 123
  • Rhodamine 123