Regional distribution of nitrergic neurons in the inner retina of the chicken

Vis Neurosci. 2011 May;28(3):205-20. doi: 10.1017/S0952523811000083. Epub 2011 Apr 19.


Using both NADPH diaphorase and anti-nNOS antibodies, we have identified-from retinal flatmounts-neuronal types in the inner retina of the chicken that are likely to be nitrergic. The two methods gave similar results and yielded a total of 15 types of neurons, comprising 9 amacrine cells, 5 ganglion cells, and 1 centrifugal midbrain neuron. Six of these 15 cell types are ubiquitously distributed, comprising 3 amacrine cells, 2 displaced ganglion cells, and a presumed orthotopic ganglion cell. The remaining nine cell types are regionally restricted within the retina. As previously reported, efferent fibers of midbrain neurons and their postsynaptic partners, the unusual axon-bearing target amacrine cells, are entirely confined to the ventral retina. Also confined to the ventral retina, though with somewhat different distributions, are the "bullwhip" amacrine cells thought to be involved in eye growth, an orthotopic ganglion cell, and two types of large axon-bearing amacrine cells whose dendrites and axons lie in stratum 1 of the inner plexiform layer (IPL). Intracellular fills of these two cell types showed that only a minority of otherwise morphologically indistinguishable neurons are nitrergic. Two amacrine cells that branch throughout the IPL are confined to an equatorial band, and one small-field orthotopic ganglion cell that branches in the proximal IPL is entirely dorsal. These findings suggest that the retina uses different processing on different regions of the visual image, though the benefit of this is presently obscure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotin / analogs & derivatives
  • Biotin / metabolism
  • Chickens
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase / metabolism
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / enzymology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I / metabolism*
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / enzymology


  • neurobiotin
  • NADP
  • Biotin
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase