The neurons of the ground squirrel retina as revealed by immunostains for calcium binding proteins and neurotransmitters

J Neurocytol. 2002 Sep-Nov;31(8-9):649-66. doi: 10.1023/a:1025791512555.


Ground squirrel retinas were immunostained with antibodies against calcium binding proteins (CBPs) and classical neurotransmitters in order to describe neuronal phenotypes in a diurnal mammalian retina and to then compare these neurons with those of more commonly studied nocturnal retinas like cats' and rabbits'. Double immunostained tissue was examined by confocal microscopy using antibodies against the following: rhodopsin and the CBPs, calbindin, calretinin, parvalbumin, calmodulin and recoverin (CB, CR, PV, CM, RV), glycine, GABA, choline acetyltransferase (CHAT) and tyrosine hydroxylase (TOH). In ground squirrel retina, the traditional cholinergic mirror symmetric amacrine cells colocalize CHAT with PV and GABA and faintly with glycine. A second cholinergic amacrine cell type colocalizes glycine alone. CR is found in at least 3 different amacrine cell types. The CR-immunoreactive (IR) cell population is a mixture of glycinergic and GABAergic types. The dopamine cell type IR to tyrosine hydroxylase has the typical morphology of a wide field cell with dendrites in S1 but the "rings" seen in cat or rabbit retina are not as numerous. TOH-IR amacrine cells send large club-shaped processes to the outer plexiform layer. CB and CR are in bipolar cells, A- and B-type horizontal cells and several amacrine cell types. Anti-rhodopsin labels the low density rod photoreceptor population in this species. Anti-recoverin labels cones and some bipolar cells while PKC is found in several different bipolar cell types. One ganglion cell with dendritic branching in S3 is strongly CR-IR. We find no evidence for an AII amacrine cell in the ground squirrel, with either anti-CR or anti-PV. An amacrine cell with similarity to the DAP1-3 cell of rabbit is CR-IR and glycine-IR. We discuss this labeling pattern in relationship to other mammalian species. The differences in staining patterns and phenotypes revealed suggest a functional diversity in the populations of amacrine cells according to whether the retinas are rod or cone dominated.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amacrine Cells / cytology
  • Amacrine Cells / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Calbindin 2
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Size / physiology
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase / metabolism
  • Eye Proteins*
  • Female
  • Glycine / metabolism
  • Hippocalcin
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lipoproteins*
  • Male
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Recoverin
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / metabolism
  • Sciuridae / anatomy & histology*
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Calbindin 2
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Eye Proteins
  • Lipoproteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G
  • Recoverin
  • Hippocalcin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase
  • Glycine