Evidence for glutamatergic ganglion cells in the avian retina

Steven E Raiguel, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


This dissertation presents structural, immunochemical and neurochemical evidence for glutamatergic retinotectal synaptic transmission, augmenting and extending previous physiological and anatomical studies. The evidence is especially striking when the laminar patterns of ($\sp3$H) L-glutamate receptor binding, ($\sp3$H) L-glutamate high affinity uptake (HAU) and glutamate immunoreactivity (GLIR) of the dorsal tectum are compared. All show high activity in the tectal SGFS, with a peak in the most superficial laminae of SGFS followed by dip in the b-c region, and a second broad peak in deeper SGFS. Uptake and immunoreactivity bear a stronger resemblance to one another than either does to receptor binding, consistent with the fact that HAU and GLIR are localized in the same structures: glutamatergic terminals, intrinsic cell bodies and their processes. Receptor binding, as attested by the lack of enucleation effects, is a marker of postsynaptic receptors. In summary, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that most of the retinal projection to the optic tectum is glutamatergic: (1) A glutamate/aspartate HAU system exists in the superficial laminae, and it is dependent upon an intact retinal input, as shown developmentally and by retinal ablation; (2) Glutamate-like immunoreactivity appears in retinorecipient tectal regions (partially responsive to enucleation), in cell bodies of retinal ganglion cells and displaced ganglion cells, and in a non-tectal ganglion cell projection, the ectomammilary nucleus; (3) Sodium-independent glutamate receptor binding (which remains unchanged by enucleation) is most intense in the retinorecipient regions of the tectum and the ectomammilary nucleus. This binding is pharmacologically typical of a CNS sensory structure, being dominated by the quisqualate/kainate receptor subclass. Thus, as with other sensory systems, a portion of the retinotectal projection has been shown to include glutamatergic afferents with the distribution and properties expected of the primary projection

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Raiguel, Steven E, "Evidence for glutamatergic ganglion cells in the avian retina" (1988). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8914939.