The synaptic connections of amacrine cells synthesizing or accumulating serotonin in the retina of the cane toad, Bufo marinus, were studied by using preembedding double-labeling electron-microscopic immunocytochemistry. The binding sites of an anti-serotonin antibody were revealed by the diaminobenzidine reaction, whilst a colloidal gold-conjugated secondary antibody was used to detect an antibody to phenylalanine hydroxylase. Since the latter antibody recognizes tryptophan 5-hydroxylase, one of the synthesizing enzymes for serotonin, as well as tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme for catecholamine synthesis, the double labeling of the present study enabled us to identify three groups of labeled profiles at the ultrastructural level. The profiles of serotonin-synthesizing amacrine cells contained both diaminobenzidine reaction product and colloidal gold particles, whilst those of serotonin-accumulating and dopaminergic amacrine cells contained only diaminobenzidine reaction product or colloidal gold particles, respectively. The synapses of serotonin-synthesizing or serotonin-accumulating amacrine cells were distributed all through the inner plexiform layer of the retina. The profiles of serotonin-synthesizing amacrine cells predominantly received synapses from, and made synapses onto, unlabeled amacrine cell dendrites. They also received synapses from, and made synapses onto, bipolar cell terminals. They also made synapses onto presumed ganglion cell dendrites. However, the profiles of serotonin-accumulating cells made synapses only with unlabeled amacrine cell processes. There were close contacts between the profiles of serotonin-synthesizing and serotonin-accumulating amacrine cells. No synaptic relationships were observed between dopaminergic and serotonin-synthesizing or serotonin-accumulating amacrine cells. These observations indicate that serotonin-synthesizing amacrine cells and serotonin-accumulating amacrine cells in the retina of Bufo marinus are involved in different microcircuits in visual information processing.
- Amacrine cells