Rod bipolar cells in the macaque monkey retina: immunoreactivity and connectivity

J Neurosci. 1991 Sep;11(9):2742-58. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.11-09-02742.1991.


Rod bipolar cells in the macaque monkey retina were labeled by three antibodies: an antibody against the alpha- and beta-subspecies of protein kinase C (PKC), a polyclonal antiserum against the L7 protein from mouse cerebellum, and a monoclonal antibody against rabbit olfactory bulb (MAb 115A 10). The MAb 115A10 antibody also labeled some cone bipolar and some amacrine cells. The antibody against PKC was used to study the synaptic connectivity of rod bipolar cells. Reconstructions of 28 rod spherules showed that usually two and up to four rod bipolar processes invaginate each rod spherule. Six rod bipolar axons in the inner plexiform layer were reconstructed; they all showed the same pattern of connectivity. Synaptic output at rod bipolar dyads usually was onto two amacrine cell profiles: one that resembled the All amacrine cell and another that frequently made a reciprocal synapse. Rod bipolar cells did not contact ganglion cells. Synaptic input to rod bipolar cells came from reciprocal amacrine cells at dyads and other amacrine cells. In these respects, the rod pathway in the monkey is very similar to that described in cat and rabbit. The density of rod bipolar cells was determined and compared with the density of rods. There is a maximum of 15,000-20,000 rod bipolar cells/mm2 at 1-3 mm eccentricity, close to where rod density is maximum. Rod density is 10 times higher than rod bipolar cell density within 2 mm of the fovea, and 30 times higher at 15 mm eccentricity. This change in relative density is compensated by an increase in the number of rods contacted by individual rod bipolar cells (seen in Golgi-stained whole-mount retina) so that the number of rod bipolar terminal boutons in each rod photoreceptor remains relatively constant with changing eccentricity. We estimate that each rod bipolar cell is contacted by about 20 rods at 2-4 mm eccentricity and about 60 rods at 6-7 mm eccentricity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Axons / enzymology
  • Cell Nucleus / enzymology
  • Dendrites / enzymology
  • Epitopes / analysis
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Olfactory Bulb / immunology
  • Photoreceptor Cells / immunology
  • Photoreceptor Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Protein Kinase C / immunology
  • Retina / ultrastructure
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Epitopes
  • Protein Kinase C