The fountain amacrine cells of the rabbit retina

Layne L. Wright, David I. Vaney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


We have characterized a distinctive type of bistratified amacrine cell in the rabbit retina at both the single cell and population levels. These cells correspond to the 'fountain' amacrine cells recently identified by MacNeil and Masland (1998). The fountain cells can be distinguished in superfused retinal wholemounts labeled with nuclear dyes, thus enabling them to be targeted for intracellular injection with Neurobiotin. This revealed that the primary dendrites ascend steeply to sublamina b of the inner plexiform layer, where they form an irregular arbor at the border of strata 4 and 5. These dendrites then give rise to multiple varicose processes that descend obliquely to sublamina a, where they form a more extensive arbor in stratum 1. The fountain amacrine cells show strong homologous tracer coupling when injected with Neurobiotin, and this has enabled us to map their density distribution across the retina and to examine the dendritic relationships between neighboring cells. The fountain amacrine cells range in density from 90 to 360 cells/mm2 and they account for 1.5% of the amacrine cells in the rabbit retina. The thick tapering dendrites in sublamina b form highly territorial arbors that tile the retina with minimal overlap, whereas the thin varicose processes intermingle in sublamina a. The fountain cells are immunopositive for γ-aminobutyric acid and immunonegative for glycine. We further propose that these cells are homologous to the substance P-immunoreactive (SP-IR) amacrine cells in the cat retina and that they may account for a subset of the SP-IR amacrine cells in the rabbit retina.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1145-1156
Number of pages12
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes


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