Spatial density and immunoreactivity of bipolar cells in the macaque monkey retina

J Comp Neurol. 1992 Sep 8;323(2):269-87. doi: 10.1002/cne.903230210.


The anatomical substrates of spatial and color vision in the primate retina are investigated by measuring the immunoreactivity and spatial density of bipolar, amacrine and horizontal cells in the inner nuclear layer of the macaque monkey retina. Bipolar cells can be distinguished from amacrine and horizontal cells by their differential immunoreactivity to antisera against glutamate, glycine, GABA, parvalbumin, calbindin (CaBP D-28K), and the L7 protein from mouse cerebellum. The spatial density of bipolar cells is compared to the densities of photoreceptors and ganglion cells at different retinal eccentricities. In the centralmost 2 mm, cone bipolar cells outnumber ganglion cells by about 1.4:1. The density of cone bipolar cells is thus high enough to allow for input to different (parasol and midget) ganglion cell classes by different (diffuse and midget) bipolar cell classes. The density gradient of cone bipolar cells follows closely that of ganglion cells in central retina but falls less steeply in peripheral retina. This suggests that the convergence of cone signals to the receptive fields of ganglion cells in the peripheral retina occurs in the inner plexiform layer. The density of cone bipolar cells is 2.5-4 times that of cones at all eccentricities studied, implying that cone connectivity to bipolar cells remains constant throughout the retina. Different subgroups of bipolar cells are distinguished by their relative immunoreactivity to the different antisera. All rod and cone bipolar cells show moderate to strong glutamate-like immunoreactivity. The bipolar cells that show weak to moderate GABA-like immunoreactivity are also labeled with the antiserum to the L7 protein and are thus identified as rod bipolar cells. Nearly half of all cone bipolar cells showed glycine-like immunoreactivity. The results suggest that the inhibitory neurotransmitter candidates GABA and glycine are segregated respectively in rod and cone bipolar cell pathways. A diffuse, cone bipolar cell type can be identified by the anti-parvalbumin and the anti-calbindin antisera. All horizontal cells show parvalbumin-like immunoreactivity. Nearly all amacrine cells show GABA-like or glycine-like immunoreactivity; a variety of subpopulations also show immunoreactivity to one or more of the other markers used.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Eye Proteins / metabolism
  • Glycine / metabolism
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Photoreceptor Cells / ultrastructure
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / immunology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / immunology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Eye Proteins
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Glycine