Immunocytochemical localization of cannabinoid CB1 receptor and fatty acid amide hydrolase in rat retina.J Comp Neurol 1999; 415(1):80-90JC
Cannabinoids have major effects on central nervous system function. Recent studies indicate that cannabinoid effects on the visual system have a retinal component. Immunocytochemical methods were used to localize cannabinoid CB1 receptor immunoreactivity (CB1R-IR) and an endocannabinoid (anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol) degradative enzyme, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH)-IR, in the rat retina. Double labeling with neuron-specific markers permitted identification of cells that were labeled with CB1R-IR and FAAH-IR. CB1R-IR was observed in all cells that were protein kinase C-immunoreactive (rod bipolar cells and a subtype of GABA-amacrine cell) as well as horizontal cells (identified by calbindin-IR). There was also punctate CB1R-IR in the distal one-third of the inner plexiform layer (IPL) that could not be assigned to a cell type. FAAH-IR was most prominent in large ganglion cells, whose dendrites projected to a narrow band in the proximal IPL. Weaker FAAH-IR was observed in the soma of horizontal cells (identified by calbindin-IR); the soma of large, but not small, dopamine amacrine cells (identified by tyrosine hydroxylase-IR); and dendrites of orthotopic- and displaced-starburst amacrine cells (identified by choline acetyltransferase-IR) but in less than 50% of the starburst amacrine cell somata. The extensive distribution of CB1R-IR on horizontal cells and rod bipolar cells indicates a role of endocannabinoids in scotopic vision, whereas the more widespread distribution of FAAH-IR indicates a complex control of endocannabinoid release and degradation in the retina.