Development of the enkephalin-, neurotensin- and somatostatin-like (ENSLI) amacrine cells in the chicken retina

Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1997 Jul 18;101(1-2):57-65. doi: 10.1016/s0165-3806(97)00034-5.


The development of the enkephalin-, neurotensin- and somatostatin-like immunoreactive (ENSLI) amacrine cells in the chicken retina has been investigated by radioimmunoassay (RIA) and immunocytochemistry (ICC). By RIA, enkephalin-like immunoreactivity (ENK-LI) was detected at embryonic day (E) 5 at only very low levels, which gradually increased until E17. From E18 to E21, there was a relatively rapid increase in ENK-LI levels, and just after hatching, there was a very steep rise. By ICC, the cell bodies of the ENSLI amacrine cells were first detected in the inner nuclear layer on E18, with no immunostaining in the inner plexiform layer (IPL). On E21, more cells were detected and processes in the IPL were visible, but detailed arborisations were not clear. On postnatal day (P) 1, the ENSLI amacrine cells showed a morphology similar to that in mature retina in both the density of cell bodies and the ramification pattern of processes. Antibodies to neurotensin and somatostatin revealed a similar developmental pattern. Thus, the three peptides appear to follow a similar developmental pattern in the ENSLI amacrine cells, suggesting that the three peptides respond similarly to developmental stimuli, just as they are released in parallel in response to physiological stimulation from mature ENSLI amacrine cells. After hatching, higher levels of ENK-LI were detected by RIA and more ENSLI amacrine cell bodies and processes were detected by ICC in animals kept in the light than in those kept in the dark. In retinas kept in the light for 12 h, it was found that immunoreactive processes in the IPL formed strongly stained patches, but this was not observed in retinas kept in the dark for 12 h.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chick Embryo
  • Enkephalins / physiology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neurotensin / physiology*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / embryology
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Somatostatin / physiology*


  • Enkephalins
  • Neurotensin
  • Somatostatin