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Vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1/VR1) co-localizes with fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) in retinal amacrine cells

  • SARAH ZIMOV (a1) (a2) and STEPHEN YAZULLA (a3)

Abstract

Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is the degradative enzyme for anandamide (AEA), an endogenous ligand for the vanilloid receptor (TRPV1) and cannabinoid receptor 1. As FAAH and TRPV1 are integral membrane proteins, FAAH activity could modulate the availability of AEA for TRPV1 activation. Previous studies in this laboratory reported an extensive endocannabinoid system in goldfish retina. Immunocytochemistry was used to determine the relative distributions of FAAH-immunoreactivity (IR) and TRPV1-IR in goldfish retina. Here, we show the first example in an intact neural system in which TRPV1-IR co-localizes in subpopulations of FAAH-immunoreactive neurons, in this case amacrine cells. These cells are rare and consist of three subtypes: 1. ovoid cell with granular-type dendrites restricted to sublamina a, 2. pyriform cell with smooth processes in sublamina b, and 3. fusiform cell with smooth processes that project to sublaminae a and b. The varied appearances of reaction product in the dendrites suggest different subcellular localization of TRPV1, and hence function of FAAH activity regarding TRPV1 stimulation among the cell types. Ovoid and pyriform amacrine cells, but not fusiform cells, labeled with GAD-IR and constituted subsets of GABAergic amacrine cells. TRPV1 amacrine cells, though rare, are represented in the ON, OFF and ON/OFF pathways of the retina. As TRPV1 stimulation increases intracellular calcium with numerous downstream effects, co-localization of TRPV1 and FAAH suggests an autoregulatory function for anandamide. Due to the rarity of these cells, the three vanilloid amacrine cell types may be involved in global effects rather than feature extraction, for example: sampling of ambient light or maintaining homeostasis.

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Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Stephen Yazulla, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5230. E-mail: stephen.yazulla@stonybrook.edu

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