Investigative ophthalmology & visual science

Displaced amacrine cells disappear from the ganglion cell layer in the central retina of adult fish during growth.

PMID 15452086


Fish grow throughout life, including enlargement of eye and retina. Retinal growth involves several mechanisms of adjustment, such as cell addition and dendritic growth. To discover possible other means with which the animals adjust to changing eye size, the distribution of displaced amacrine cells (DACs) and ganglion cells (GCs) was analyzed in the retina of three sizes of a South American cichlid, the blue arcara Aequidens pulcher. DACs were identified by staining with antibodies specific for the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin. They were also weakly positive for staining against choline acetyl transferase (ChaT). GCs were labeled retrogradely with rhodamine dextran. Densities for both DACs and GCs were lower in the retinas of large fish. To distinguish changes due to eye size from specific adjustments, the proportions of DACs to GCs were examined, rather than the absolute cell densities, in various retinal regions in cryostat sections and wholemount preparations from fish of the three sizes. The analyses suggest that, in small and large fish, DACs and GCs were produced in similar proportions (ratio of DACs to GCs, approximately 0.62) in the retinal periphery where new retinal tissue was added by the germinal zone. However, in the central retina of large fish, this proportion was shifted toward GCs (DAC-GC ratio as low as 0.25). During growth of the eye, the proportion of DACs in the ganglion cell layer decreases, indicating that these cells are eliminated from the ganglion cell layer by some unknown mechanism.

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