Calretinin-containing retinal amacrine cells are heterogeneous with regard to their neurochemical properties. In the rabbit retina, about 90% of them contain glycine, as evidenced in the present study by double-label immunocytochemistry. In a previous report, we showed that a small population of amacrine cells contains both γ-aminobutyric acid and calretinin. In this study, we further identified this cell population by means of known secondary markers. However, none of the markers we tested (choline acetyltransferase, serotonin accumulation, NADPH-diaphorase, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide) co-localized with calretinin. A small population (1%) of the cells in the ganglion cell layer contains both calretinin and glycine. Since calretinin-positive cells in the ganglion cell layer have been identified as ganglion cells based on soma size and presence of calretinin-positive axons in the optic nerve fiber layer, this population may represent a class of ganglion cell which contains glycine. Our results, together with those of other studies, suggest that calretinin is not a general marker of any of the well-known amacrine cell types in the mammalian retina. Rather, calretinin, just as other calcium-binding proteins, is distributed in a species-specific manner. At the same time it appears that, as shown for horizontal cells, one or more of the major buffer-type calcium-binding proteins of the EF-hand family is present in most of the retinal amacrine cells.
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