Morphological and neurochemical diversity of neuronal nitric oxide synthase-positive amacrine cells in the turtle retina

Cell Tissue Res. 2000 Oct;302(1):11-9. doi: 10.1007/s004410000267.


The histochemistry of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate diaphorase (NADPH-d) and immunoreactivity of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS-IR) can be demonstrated in various cell types of the vertebrate retina. In this study, we have focused on characterizing the different NADPH-d-positive amacrine cell types in turtle retina. Cryostat sections were examined by confocal laser scanning microscopy for double immunofluorescence with antibodies against nNOS and either GABA or glycine, or by combining histochemistry with immunocytochemistry to obtain triple labeling with NADPH-d, GABA, and glycine. Forty-eight percent of the NADPH-d-labeled amacrine cells colocalized GABA, 52% glycine. Here we show that two morphologically different types of amacrine cell are nNOS/glycine-IR and three types are nNOS/GABA-IR. Antibodies against calretinin, parvalbumin, somatostatin, tyrosine hydroxylase, and choline acetyltransferase did not colocalize with nNOS-IR or NADPH-d-labeled amacrine cells, but 15% of the NOS-labeled amacrine cells showed immunoreactivity against calbindin. Only GABA has been seen to colocalize with NADPH-d in amacrine cells in previous reports in other species. The finding here of glycine colocalizing with NO-containing cells is novel. We suggest that NO, apart from its well known function in gap junction regulation, can also modulate the release of both GABA and glycine in the turtle retina.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calbindin 2
  • Calbindins
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase / analysis
  • Dihydrolipoamide Dehydrogenase / analysis*
  • Eye Proteins / analysis
  • Glycine / analysis
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / analysis*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I
  • Parvalbumins / analysis
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / enzymology
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / enzymology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / analysis
  • Turtles / anatomy & histology*
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / analysis
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analysis


  • Calbindin 2
  • Calbindins
  • Eye Proteins
  • Parvalbumins
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Dihydrolipoamide Dehydrogenase
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase
  • Glycine