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Keywords:

  • kainate;
  • kainate receptors;
  • agmatine;
  • AGB;
  • rat retina;
  • glutamate;
  • GABA;
  • glycine;
  • immunocytochemistry

Abstract

Kainate receptors mediate fast, excitatory synaptic transmission for a range of inner neurons in the mammalian retina. However, allocation of functional kainate receptors to known cell types and their sensitivity remains unresolved. Using the cation channel probe 1-amino-4-guanidobutane agmatine (AGB), we investigated kainate sensitivity of neurochemically identified cell populations within the structurally intact rat retina. Most inner retinal neuron populations responded to kainate in a concentration-dependent manner. OFF cone bipolar cells demonstrated the highest sensitivity of all inner neurons to kainate. Immunocytochemical localization of AGB and macromolecular markers confirmed that type 2 bipolar cells were part of this kainate-sensitive population. The majority of amacrine (ACs) and ganglion cells (GCs) showed kainate responses with different sensitivities between major neurochemical classes (γ-aminobutyric acid [GABA]/glycine ACs > glycine ACs > GABA ACs; glutamate [Glu]/weakly GABA GCs > Glu GCs). Conventional and displaced cholinergic ACs were highly responsive to kainate, whereas dopaminergic ACs do not appear to express functional kainate receptors. These findings further contribute to our understanding of neuronal networks in complex multicellular tissues. J. Comp. Neurol. 521:2416–2438, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.