Tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity in the rhesus monkey retina reveals synapses from bipolar cells to dopaminergic amacrine cells

J Neurosci. 1987 Sep;7(9):2785-93. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.07-09-02785.1987.


The synaptic organization of dopamine-containing amacrine cells in the rhesus monkey retina was studied using immunohistochemistry of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme in the catecholamine synthetic pathway. Cell bodies of the TH-containing neurons were primarily in the innermost tier of the inner nuclear layer. Their synaptic processes, confined to the outermost stratum of the inner plexiform layer, contained mostly small, clear vesicles and were presynaptic to unlabeled amacrine cell processes and cell bodies at junctions that were symmetrical. Synapses onto the TH-immunoreactive neurons were from bipolar cell axon terminals, nonimmunoreactive amacrine cell processes, and other TH-containing amacrine cells in a decreasing order of predominance. The bipolar cells were presynaptic to the TH-containing neuronal processes at ribbon synapses. The size, structure, and position of the bipolar cell axon terminals, which, like the TH-reactive processes, were narrowly confined to the outermost stratum of the inner plexiform layer, indicate that they are recently described giant bistratified bipolar cells. The identification of this bipolar cell input now provides evidence for a pathway from the outer plexiform layer to dopaminergic amacrine cells in the inner plexiform layer via a type of cone bipolar cell.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopamine / analysis*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neurons / enzymology
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / enzymology*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / analysis*


  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Dopamine