Nicotinic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors shape ganglion cell response properties

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study was to evaluate the expression patterns of nicotinic and muscarinic ACh receptors (nAChRs and mAChRs, respectively) in relation to one another and to understand their effects on rabbit retinal ganglion cell response properties. Double-label immunohistochemistry revealed labeled inner-retinal cell bodies and complex patterns of nAChR and mAChR expression in the inner plexiform layer. Specifically, the expression patterns of m1, m4, and m5 muscarinic receptors overlapped with those of non-_7 and _7 nicotinic receptors in presumptive amacrine and ganglion cells. There was no apparent overlap in the expression patterns of m2 muscarinic receptors with _7 nicotinic receptors or of m3 with non-_7 nicotinic receptors. Patch-clamp recordings demonstrated cell type-specific effects of nicotinic and muscarinic receptor blockade. Muscarinic receptor blockade enhanced the center responses of brisk-sustained/G4 On and G4 Off ganglion cells, whereas nicotinic receptor blockade suppressed the center responses of G4 On-cells near the visual streak but enhanced the center responses of nonstreak G4 On-cells. Blockade of muscarinic or nicotinic receptors suppressed the center responses of brisk-sustained Off-cells and the center light responses of subsets of brisk-transient/ G11 On-and Off-cells. Only nicotinic blockade affected the center responses of G10 On-cells and G5 Off-cells. These data indicate that physiologically and morphologically identified ganglion cell types have specific patterns of AChR expression. The cholinergic receptor signatures of these cells may have implications for understanding visual defects in disease states that result from decreased ACh availability.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Strang CE; Long Y; Gavrikov KE; Amthor FR; Keyser KT
  • Start Page

  • 203
  • End Page

  • 217
  • Volume

  • 113
  • Issue

  • 1