The calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV) occurs in the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) of various vertebrate species. In the present study, we aimed to identify the types of PV-containing RGCs that project to the superior colliculus (SC) in the mouse. We injected retrograde tracer dextran into the mouse SC to label RGCs. PV-containing RGCs were first identified by immunocytochemistry and then neurons double-labeled with dextran and PV were iontophoretically injected with a lipophilic dye, DiI. Subsequently, confocal microscopy was used to characterize the morphologic classification of the PV-immunoreactive (IR) retinotectal ganglion cells on the basis of dendritic field size, branching pattern, and stratification within the inner plexiform layer. Among the 8 different types of PV-containing RGCs in the mouse retina, we found all 8 types of RGCs projecting to the SC. The RGCs were heterogeneous in morphology. The combined approach of using tracer injection and a single cell injection after immunocytochemistry on a particular protein will provide valuable data to further understand the functional features of the RGCs which constitute the retinotectal pathway.
Keywords: cell injection; cell type; parvalbumin; retinal ganglion cell; superior colliculus.