We surveyed wide-field amacrine cells in the mouse, using a large series of retinas from a transgenic strain that expresses the green fluorescent protein (GFP) in isolated retinal cells. Wide-field cells were present in surprising diversity and number. They formed groups that could be defined by arbor depth, arbor size, and soma size. By conventional criteria, these populations of cells make up 11 amacrine cell "types." Five additional types have been reported by others in the mouse. Roughly two-thirds of the wide-field amacrine cells are axon-bearing cells, which have separate dendritic and axonal arbors. The axonal arbor of a single cell sometimes covers the majority of the retinal surface. The axon-bearing cells appear to be centrifugally conducting neurons similar to those studied electrophysiologically in some other species. Although they are classified as independent morphological types, it seems likely that their physiological functions represent variations on a single organizational plan. These cells are present at every level of the inner plexiform layer, which suggests that they affect most of the mouse retina's final outputs to the brain and, by implication, almost all visual function.
- Amacrine cells
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