GABA-ergic pathways in the goldfish retina

J Comp Neurol. 1978 Nov 15;182(2):221-44. doi: 10.1002/cne.901820204.


A high-affinity uptake mechanism for [3H]-gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) has been localized to type H1 cone horizontal cells and type Ab pyriform amacrine cells in the retina of the goldfish by light and electron microscopy autoradiography. By stimulating isolated retinas with colored lights during incubation we have been able to use [3H]-GABA uptake as a probe of light-evoked changes in membrane potential. All colors of lights increase and darkness decreases [3H]-GABA uptake by H1 cone horizontal cells. Our model of voltage dependence of GABA uptake predicts that all colors of light should hyperpolarize H1 cone horizontal cells and other investigators have shown by intracellular recording and dye-marking that type H1 cone horizontal cells hyperpolarize to all wavelengths of light. We have also obtained evidence that dark-induced depolarization of cone horizontal cells leads to release of GABA. Type Ab pyriform amacrine cells show maximal [3H]-GABA uptake in darkness and when exposed to green or blue lights, but red lights dramatically suppress uptake. We predict these neurons to be red-depolarizing, and recent intracellular recordings and dye-marking by Famiglietti et al. ('77) support our conclusions. Synaptic relations of apparently GABA-ergic neurons were investigated in the electron microscope. We propose type H1 cone horizontal cells to be both pre- and post-synaptic to red-sensitive cones and type Ab pyriform amacrine cells to be both pre- and post-synaptic to red-sensitive center-depolarizing bipolar cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Cyprinidae / physiology*
  • Goldfish / physiology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Intercellular Junctions / physiology
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid