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Parvalbumin immunoreactivity is enhanced by brain-derived neurotrophic factor in organotypic cultures of rat retina.

Rickman D.W.

The rodent retina undergoes considerable postnatal neurogenesis and phenotypic differentiation, and it is likely that diffusible neurotrophic factors contribute to this development and to the subsequent formation of functional retinal circuitry. Accordingly, perturbation of specific neurotrophin ligand-receptor interactions has provided valuable information as to the fundamental processes underlying this development. In the present studies we have built upon our previous observation that suppression of expression of trk(B), the high-affinity receptor for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), in the postnatal rat retina results in the alteration of a specific interneuron in the rod pathway-the parvalbumin (PV)-immunoreactive AII amacrine cell. Here, we isolated retinas from newborn rats and maintained them in organotypic culture for up to 14 days (approximating the time of eye opening, in vivo) in the presence of individual neurotrophins [BDNF or nerve growth factor (NGF)]. We then examined histological sections of cultures for PV immunoreactivity. In control cultures, only sparse PV-immunostained cells were observed. In cultures supplemented with NGF, numerous lightly immunostained somata were present in the inner nuclear layer (INL) at the border of the inner plexiform layer (IPL). Many of these cells had rudimentary dendritic arborizations in the IPL. Cultures supplemented with BDNF displayed numerous well-immunostained somata at the INL/IPL border that gave rise to elaborate dendritic arborizations that approximated the morphology of mature AII amacrine cells in vivo. These observations indicate that neurotrophins have specific effects upon the neurochemical and, perhaps, morphological differentiation of an important interneuron in a specific functional retinal circuit.

J. Neurobiol. 41:376-384(1999) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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