Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Stephen C. Massey

Committee Member

Stephen L. Mills

Committee Member

John O'Brien

Committee Member

Louvenia Carter-Dawson

Committee Member

Thomas J. Goka


In the mammalian retina, AII amacrine cells are essential in the rod pathway for dark-adapted vision. But they also have a “day job”, to provide inhibitory inputs to certain OFF ganglion cells in photopic conditions. This is known as crossover inhibition. Physiological evidence from several different labs implies that AII amacrine cells provide direct input to certain OFF ganglion cells. However, previous EM analysis of the rabbit retina suggests that the dominant output of the AII amacrine cell in sublamina a goes to OFF cone bipolar cells (Strettoi et al., 1992).

Two OFF ganglion cell types in the rabbit retina, OFF α and G9, were identified by a combination of morphological criteria such as dendritic field size, dye coupling, mosaic properties and stratification depth. The AII amacrine cells (AIIs) were labeled with an antibody against calretinin and glycine receptors were marked with an antibody against the α1 subunit. This material was analyzed by triple-label confocal microscopy. We found the lobules of AIIs made close contacts at many points along the dendrites of individual OFF α and G9 ganglion cells. At these potential synaptic sites, we also found punctate labeling for the glycine receptor α1 subunit. The presence of a post-synaptic marker such as the α1 glycine receptor at contact points between AII lobules and OFF ganglion cells supports a direct inhibitory input from AIIs. This pathway provides for crossover inhibition in the rabbit retina whereby light onset provides an inhibitory signal to OFF α and G9 ganglion cells. Thus, these two OFF ganglion cell types receive a mixed excitatory and inhibitory drive in response to light stimulation.


retina, rabbit, AII, Crossover inhibition, OFF alpha, cell classification



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