Serotonin [5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)] is a common neurotransmitter/ neuromodulator found widely in the nervous system. Cellular morphology and retinal distribution of serotonergic amacrine cells in the channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) retina are identified using monoclonal anti-5HT antibody. These cells receive ribbon synapses from OFF-center (hyperpolarizing) bipolar cells as well as conventional synapses with other non-serotonergic amacrine cells. Output synapses from the serotonergic cells are mainly channel onto retinal ganglion cells. Output synapses from the serotonergic cells occur as "the branched synapses" onto the ganglion cell dendrites at the dyads of the ribbon synaptic sites, and are made onto the ganglion cells, apart from the ribbon synapses. Application of serotonin receptor agonist: 5HT1A serotonin receptor agonist, (+)-8-hydroxy-dipropylaminotetralin [8-OH-DPAT; 110 μM] is also known to activate 5HT7 serotonin receptor, coupled with activation of adenylate cyclase, generated continuous repetitive spikes from large retinal ganglion cells of the adult goldfish (Carassius auratus) in flat-mounted preparations, using amphotericin-B-perforated patch-clamp. Under control conditions of bleached retina with continuous light illumination, goldfish large retinal ganglion cells had generated only few spikes. This is the first observation of positive neuromodulation promoting retinal ganglion cell excitation in the retina. The results confirm previous reports of a serotonergic system in the mammalian retina. These results support the presence of developed postsynaptic serotonin receptors in cyprinid fish retina together with other physiological and anatomical studies, and suggest that the action of serotonin in the retina may be more important than previously believed.
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