Parasol retinal ganglion cells are more sensitive to luminance contrast and respond more transiently at all levels of adaptation than midget ganglion cells. This may be due, in part, to differences between bipolar cells that provide their input, and the goal of these experiments was to study these differences. Midget bipolar cells are known to be presynaptic to midget ganglion cells. To identify the bipolar cells presynaptic to parasol cells, these ganglion cells were intracellularly injected with Neurobiotin, cone bipolar cells were immunolabeled, and the double-labeled material was analyzed. In the electron microscope, we found that DB3 diffuse bipolar cells labeled by using antiserum to calbindin D-28k were presynaptic to OFF parasol cells. In the confocal microscope, DB3 bipolars costratified with OFF parasol cell dendrites and made significantly more appositions with them than expected due to chance. Flat midget bipolar cells were labeled with antiserum to recoverin. Although they made a few appositions with parasol cells, the number was no greater than would be expected when two sets of processes have overlapping distributions in the inner plexiform layer. DB2 diffuse bipolar cells were labeled with antibodies to excitatory amino acid transporter 2, and they also made appositions with OFF parasol cells. These results suggest that DB2 bipolar cells are also presynaptic to OFF parasol ganglion cells, but midget bipolar cells are not. We estimate that midperipheral OFF parasol cells receive approximately 500 synapses from 50 DB3 bipolar cells that, in turn, receive input from 250 cones.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.