L-glutamic acid decarboxylase- and gamma-aminobutyric acid-immunoreactive bipolar cells in tiger salamander retina are of ON- and OFF-response types as inferred from Lucifer Yellow injection.J Comp Neurol 1997; 385(4):651-60JC
The bipolar cells in vertebrate retinas are considered to be excitatory in nature and use L-glutamate as their neurotransmitter. Our earlier studies have provided evidence demonstrating that a small but significant population of orthotopic bipolar cells in salamander retina may be gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic. In this work, the stratification levels of axon terminals in the inner plexiform layer (IPL) of single L-glutamic acid decarboxylase-immunoreactive (GAD-IR) and GABA-immunoreactive (GABA-IR) bipolar cells in the salamander retinal slices were studied. GAD-IR and GABA-IR bipolar cells marked by a fluorescent probe, Texas Red, were injected with Lucifer Yellow (LY) through a patch pipette under visual control. A total number of 42 GAD-IR bipolar cells in 24 slices and 84 GABA-IR bipolar cells in 56 slices were injected. Among these, terminals of nine GAD-IR bipolar cells and 22 GABA-IR bipolar cells were sufficiently filled with LY for determination of the stratification levels in the IPL. The stratification patterns and levels of GAD-IR and GABA-IR bipolar cells were very similar. GAD-IR and GABA-IR orthotopic type I and type II bipolar cells (soma located in the most distal or middle of the inner nuclear layer [INL], respectively), had their axon terminals stratified in sublamina a and sublamina b of the IPL with comparable frequency. Axonal processes were restricted largely to either the distal or the proximal region within sublaminae a and b. In addition, three of the bipolar cells had their terminals located in the middle region of the IPL. The similarities of stratification patterns and levels between GAD-IR and GABA-IR type I and type II bipolar cells indicate that they represent the same population of presumed GABAergic bipolar cells. Based on comparative stratifications of GABA bipolar cells reported here and those derived from electrophysiological studies (Hensley et al.  J. Neurophysiol. 69:2086-2098), it is suggested that putative GABAergic bipolar cells represent cone-dominated and rod-dominated ON- and OFF-bipolar cells and that they subserve a broad role in the ON- and OFF-visual pathways in the retina.