The activities of monoamine oxidase (MAO)-A and -B in subcellular fractions of bovine retina were determined using serotonin and beta-phenylethylamine, respectively, as substrates. The subcellular fractions were a P1 fraction containing photoreceptor cell synaptosomes and a P2 fraction enriched with small synaptosomes derived from the inner plexiform layer. MAO activities in the homogenate and P1 fraction were similar and lower than those in the P2 fraction for both MAO-A and -B. The activity of MAO-B was greater than that of MAO-A in all fractions, but the relative distribution of MAO-A and -B did not change in the different fractions. Studies using various MAO inhibitors showed effects which were generally similar to those seen in brain. These results provide further support for the localization of terminals of retinal monamine-containing neurons to the inner plexiform layer and suggest that pharmacological modification of MAO activity in the retina could play an important role in retinal function via changes in monoamine metabolism.