Localization of L‐glutamic acid decarboxylase mRNA in cat retinal horizontal cells by in situ hybridization

P. Vijay Sarthy*, Marlene Fu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Retinal horizontal cells receive synaptic input from photoreceptors and provide a pathway for lateral interactions in the vertebrate retina. In nonmammalian retinas, the H1 horizontal cells appear to use γ‐amino butyric acid (GABA) as their neurotransmitter. The transmitter used by mammalian horizontal cells, however, remains to be identified. In the present study, we have employed in situ hybridization to examine whether cat retinal horizontal cells contain L‐glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) mRNA and hence might use GABA as their transmitter. In the cat retina, labeled cell bodies were found in the inner nuclear layer and the ganglion cell layer. No labeled cells were found in the photoreceptor layer. In the inner nuclear layer, labeled somata were present at two locations. The majority of them (∼72%) were located in the vitread side of the inner nuclear layer bordering the inner nuclear layer/inner plexiform layer boundary. A second class of labeled cells in the inner nuclear layer (∼20%) had larger somata and were present at the inner nuclear layer/outer plexiform layer boundary. Double labeling experiments with antisera to parvalbumin, a horizontal cell marker, showed that these perikarya belonged to horizontal cells. RNA blot analysis showed that cat retina contains a single species of GAD mRNA that is about 4 kb in size. These data show that in addition to GABAergic amacrine, displaced amacrine, and interplexiform cells described previously, horizontal cells contain GAD mRNA and may use GABA as their neurotransmitter. Hence, GABA may be a transmitter that is involved in lateral inhibition in both nonmammalian and mammalian retinas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-600
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 22 1989


  • GABA
  • double labeling
  • neurotransmitter
  • opsin mRNA
  • parvalbumin
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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