Indexed on: 24 Feb '04Published on: 24 Feb '04Published in: The Journal of Physiology
We investigated the dendritic relationship between starburst amacrine cells (SAs) and morphologically and physiologically characterized ON and ON-OFF direction-selective ganglion cells (DSGCs) in the rabbit retina. ON and ON-OFF DSGCs were found to exhibit tight dendritic cofasciculation with the SA plexus, visualized by immunolabelling of the vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT). The degree of cofasciculation of both types of DSGC dendrites and SA plexus was found to be significant, unlike the relationship between non-DS cells and the SA plexus, which was close to chance distribution. No difference in the degree of cofasciculation in different regions of the DS dendritic field was observed. Individual SAs intracellularly injected both on the 'preferred' and 'null' side of the DSGCs showed the same degree of cofasciculation with the DSGCs. Therefore, the computation of motion direction is unlikely to result from apparent asymmetry in geometric proximity between SAs and DSGCs. Highly selective synaptic connections between SAs and DSGCs are necessary.