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Keywords:

  • amino acids;
  • GABA;
  • GAD;
  • glutamate;
  • glutamine;
  • glutamine synthetase;
  • glycine;
  • immunoreactivity;
  • remodelling;
  • retina

Advances in basic retinal anatomy, genetics, biochemical pathways and neurochemistry have not only provided a better understanding of retinal function but have also allowed us to link basic science to retinal disease. The link with disease allowed measures to be developed that now provide an opportunity to intervene and slow down or even restore sight in previously ‘untreatable’ retinal diseases. One of the critical advances has been the understanding of the retinal amino acid neurotransmitters, related amino acids, their metabolites and functional receptors. This review provides an overview of amino acid localisation in the retina and examples of how retinal anatomy and amino acid neurochemistry directly links to understanding retinal disease. Also, the implications of retinal remodelling involving amino acid (glutamate) receptors are outlined in this review and insights are presented on how understanding of detrimental and beneficial retinal remodelling will provide better outcomes for patients using strategies for the preservation or restoration of vision. An internet-based database of retinal images of amino acid labelling patterns and other amino acid-related images in health and disease is located at http://www.aminoacidimmunoreactivity.com.