The rod circuit in the rabbit retina

Vis Neurosci. 1991 Jul-Aug;7(1-2):141-54. doi: 10.1017/s0952523800011019.


Mammalian retinae have a well-defined neuronal pathway that serves rod vision. In rabbit retina, the different populations of interneurons in the rod pathway can be selectively labeled, either separately or in combination. The rod bipolar cells show protein kinase C immunoreactivity; the rod (AII) amacrine cells can be distinguished in nuclear-yellow labeled retina; the rod reciprocal (S1 & S2) amacrine cells accumulate serotonin; and the dopaminergic amacrine cells show tyrosine-hydroxylase immunoreactivity. Furthermore, intracellular dye injection of the microscopically identified interneurons enables whole-population and single-cell studies to be combined in the same tissue. Using this approach, we have been able to analyze systematically the neuronal architecture of the rod circuit across the rabbit retina and compare its organization with that of the rod circuit in central cat retina. In rabbit retina, the rod interneurons are not organized in a uniform neuronal module that is simply scaled up from central to peripheral retina. Moreover, peripheral fields in superior and inferior retina that have equivalent densities of each neuronal type show markedly different rod bipolar to AII amacrine convergence ratios, with the result that many more rod photoreceptors converge on an AII amacrine cell in superior retina. In rabbit retina, much of the convergence in the rod circuit occurs in the outer retina whereas, in central cat retina, it is more evenly distributed between the inner and outer retina.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Optic Nerve / anatomy & histology
  • Photoreceptor Cells / anatomy & histology*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Retina / anatomy & histology*
  • Retina / metabolism


  • Dopamine