Rabbit retinal ganglion cell responses to nicotine can be mediated by β2-containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors

Academic Article


  • Acetylcholine (ACh) affects the response properties of many retinal ganglion cells (GCs) through the activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). To date there have been few studies directly correlating the expression of specific nAChR subtypes with the physiological and morphological characteristics of specific retinal GCs. This study was designed to correlate responses to nicotine application with immunohistochemical evidence of nAChR expression in physiologically and morphologically identified ganglion cells. Extracellular recordings were used to physiologically identify rabbit retinal GCs, based on responses to light stimulation. Cells were then tested for responses to nicotine application and/or for expression of nAChRs, as judged by immunoreactivity to mAb210, an nAChR antibody. The morphologies of many physiologically identified cells were also determined by dye injection. More than three-fourths of ganglion cells tested responded to nicotine application under coball-induced synaptic blockade. The nicotine sensitivity was consistent with nAChR immunoreactivity and was also correlated with specific morphological subgroups of GCs. Overall, approximately two-thirds of all physiologically identified GCs that were processed for immunohistochemistry displayed immunoreactivity. In total, 18 of 22 physiologically identified cells demonstrated both sensitivity to nicotine application under synaptic blockade and mAb210 immunoreactivity (mAb210-IR). Thus, mAb210-IR is likely to represent functional nAChRs that can modulate retinal information processing and visual functioning via direct excitation of a number of GC classes.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Strang CE; Amthor FR; Keyser KT
  • Start Page

  • 651
  • End Page

  • 662
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 6