Coupling pattern of S1 and S2 amacrine cells in the rabbit retina

Vis Neurosci. Mar-Apr 2002;19(2):119-31. doi: 10.1017/s0952523802191115.


Previous studies have shown that indoleamine-accumulating cells (IACs) in the rabbit retina consist of two main cell types: S1 and S2 amacrine cells (Vaney, 1986; Sandell & Masland, 1986). Both cell types are wide-field GABA amacrine cells that make reciprocal synaptic contacts with rod bipolar cell terminals (Ehinger & Holmgren, 1979; Strettoi et al., 1990). We have examined the coupling pattern of S1 and S2 amacrine cells after the intracellular injection of Neurobiotin. Our results may be summarized as follows: (1) S1 amacrine cells were extensively coupled and their dendrites formed a network similar to but less dense than the matrix stained with an antibody to serotonin. (2) Morphological observations and cluster analysis, based on a scattergram, showed that the vast majority of coupled cells were S1 amacrine cells, accounting for approximately half of the total IACs. The rest of the uncoupled IACs were S2 amacrine cells. (3) Sometimes, two adjacent varicosities, one from an injected S1 and one from a coupled S1, contacted a single rod bipolar terminal. (4) S2 amacrine cells were also coupled but much less than the S1s. (5) Rarely, crossover coupling between S1 and S2 amacrine cells was observed. These results suggest that the extensive coupling between S1 amacrine cells, combined with a larger dendritic field, may contribute a wide-field component to the inhibitory surround of the rod pathway. By comparison, the smaller, weakly coupled S2 amacrine cells may provide a local component.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amacrine Cells / physiology*
  • Amacrine Cells / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Biotin / administration & dosage
  • Biotin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cell Communication*
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Intracellular Membranes
  • Microinjections
  • Nerve Endings / physiology
  • Rabbits
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Serotonin / pharmacokinetics


  • neurobiotin
  • Serotonin
  • Biotin