PloS one

Rod photoreceptors express GPR55 in the adult vervet monkey retina.

PMID 24244730


Cannabinoids exert their actions mainly through two receptors, the cannabinoid CB1 receptor (CB1R) and cannabinoid CB2 receptor (CB2R). In recent years, the G-protein coupled receptor 55 (GPR55) was suggested as a cannabinoid receptor based on its activation by anandamide and tetrahydrocannabinol. Yet, its formal classification is still a matter of debate. CB1R and CB2R expression patterns are well described for rodent and monkey retinas. In the monkey retina, CB1R has been localized in its neural (cone photoreceptor, horizontal, bipolar, amacrine and ganglion cells) and CB2R in glial components (Müller cells). The aim of this study was to determine the expression pattern of GPR55 in the monkey retina by using confocal microscopy. Our results show that GPR55 is strictly localized in the photoreceptor layer of the extrafoveal portion of the retina. Co-immunolabeling of GPR55 with rhodopsin, the photosensitive pigment in rods, revealed a clear overlap of expression throughout the rod structure with most prominent staining in the inner segments. Additionally, double-label of GPR55 with calbindin, a specific marker for cone photoreceptors in the primate retina, allowed us to exclude expression of GPR55 in cones. The labeling of GPR55 in rods was further assessed with a 3D visualization in the XZ and YZ planes thus confirming its exclusive expression in rods. These results provide data on the distribution of GPR55 in the monkey retina, different than CB1R and CB2R. The presence of GPR55 in rods suggests a function of this receptor in scotopic vision that needs to be demonstrated.