Expression and localization of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 and the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase in the retina of vervet monkeys.Neuroscience 2012; 202:117-30N
The presence of a widespread endocannabinoid (eCB) system within the nervous system, including the retina, has been demonstrated in recent years. Expression patterns of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) and enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) are available for rodents, but data for humans and monkeys are scarce. We, therefore, thoroughly examined the distribution pattern of CB1R and FAAH throughout the retina of the vervet monkey (Chlorocebus sabeus) using confocal microscopy. Our results demonstrate that CB1R and FAAH are expressed throughout the retina, from the foveal pit to the far periphery. CB1R and FAAH are present in the photoreceptor, outer plexiform, inner nuclear, inner plexiform, and retinal ganglion cell layers (PRL, OPL, INL, IPL, and RGCL, respectively). More specifically, in PRL, CB1R and FAAH are preferentially expressed in cones of the central retina. In OPL, these two components of the eCB system are concentrated not only in the cone pedicles but also in rod spherules with, however, a less intense staining pattern. Triple-labeling immunofluorescence revealed that both cone and rod bipolar cells express CB1R and FAAH. Heavy staining is detected in RGC somas and axons. Neither CB1R nor FAAH are found in the retinal glia, the Müller cells. These data indicate that the eCB system is present throughout the primate retina and is ideally positioned to modulate central and peripheral retinal functions.