The morphology and topographic distribution of AII amacrine cells in the cat retina

Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1985 Jun 22;224(1237):475-88. doi: 10.1098/rspb.1985.0045.


When cat retina is incubated in vitro with the fluorescent dye, 4',6-diamidino-2-phenyl-indole (DAPI), a uniform population of neurons is brightly labelled at the inner border of the inner nuclear layer. The dendritic morphology of the DAPI-labelled cells was defined by iontophoretic injection of Lucifer yellow under direct microscopic control: all the filled cells had the narrow-field bistratified morphology that is distinctive of the AII amacrine cells previously described from Golgi-stained retinae. Although the AII amacrines are principal interneurons in the rod-signal pathway, their density distribution does not follow the topography of the rod receptors, but peaks in the central area like the cone receptors and the ganglion cells. There are some 512 000 AII amacrines in the cat retina and their density ranges from 500 cells per square millimetre at the superior margin to 5300 cells per square millimetre in the centre (retinal area is 450 mm2). The isodensity contours are kite-shaped, particularly at intermediate densities, with a horizontal elongation towards nasal retina. The cell body size and the dendritic dimensions of AII amacrines increase with decreasing cell density. The lobular dendrites in sublamina a of the inner plexiform layer span a restricted field of 16-45 microns diameter, while the arboreal dendrites in sublamina b form a varicose tree of 18-95 microns diameter. The dendritic field coverage of the lobular appendages is close to 1.0 (+/- 0.2) at all eccentricities whereas the coverage of the arboreal dendrites doubles within the first 1.5 mm and then remains constant at 3.8 (+/- 0.7) throughout the periphery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Indoles
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Retina / cytology*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Indoles
  • DAPI