Morphological analysis of disabled-1-immunoreactive amacrine cells in the guinea pig retina

J Comp Neurol. 2003 Nov 10;466(2):240-50. doi: 10.1002/cne.10870.


Disabled-1 (Dab1) is an adapter molecule in a signaling pathway, stimulated by reelin, that controls cell positioning in the developing brain. It localizes to selected neurons in the nervous system, including the retina, and Dab1-like immunoreactivity is present in AII amacrine cells in the mouse retina. This study was conducted to characterize Dab1-labeled cells in the guinea pig retina in detail using immunocytochemistry, quantitative analysis, and electron microscopy. Dab1 immunoreactivity is present in a class of amacrine cell bodies located in the inner nuclear layer adjacent to the inner plexiform layer (IPL). These cells give rise to processes that ramify the entire depth of the IPL. Double-labeling experiments demonstrated that these amacrine cells make contacts with the axon terminals of rod bipolar cells and that their processes make contacts with each other via connexin 36 in sublamina b of the IPL. In addition, all Dab1-labeled amacrine cells showed glycine transporter 1 immunoreactivity, indicating that they are glycinergic. The density of Dab1-labeled AII amacrine cells decreased from about 3,750 cells/mm(2) in the central retina to 1,725 cells/mm(2) in the peripheral retina. Dab1-labeled amacrine cells receive synaptic inputs from the axon terminals of rod bipolar cells in stratum 5 of the IPL. From these morphological features, Dab1-labeled cells of the guinea pig retina resemble the AII amacrine cells described in other mammalian species. Thus, the rod pathway of the guinea pig retina follows the general mammalian scheme and Dab1 antisera can be used to identify AII amacrine cells in the mammalian retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amacrine Cells / chemistry*
  • Amacrine Cells / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis*
  • Reelin Protein
  • Retina / chemistry*
  • Retina / ultrastructure


  • Dab1 protein, mouse
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Reelin Protein
  • Reln protein, mouse