a1 Institute of Neuroanatomy, University of Düsseldorf, Moorenstrasse 5, D-40001 Düsseldorf, Germany
The distribution of the carbohydrate epitope CD 15, a putative cell adhesion molecule, was studied in adult vertebrate retinas by light-microscopic immunohistochemistry. Except for Old World primates, in which no immunoreactivity was detectable, all other species expressed the epitope on retinal interneurones. Subpopulations of stratified amacrine cells were found in all species with the exception of bats and marmoset monkeys, and bipolar cells were immunoreactive in frogs and all amniotic animals. Ganglion cells were labelled in urodelian, in all sauromorphian, as well as in some mammalian species. In some species, the distribution of immunoreactive neurones was correlated to areas of retinal specialization such as the visual streak in frogs and the dorsotemporal field in birds. In these parts of the retina with enhanced visual acuity, more CD 15 glycosylated bipolar cells were found than in other parts. Among mammals, labelled bipolar cells were found exclusively in species with cone-dominated retinas. This comparative study shows that CD 15 expression is consistently membrane associated in morphologically defined subsets of amacrine, bipolar, and ganglion cells throughout the vertebrate phylum. Its distribution pattern was found to depend more on the visual behavior of a given species (cone-dominated or rod-dominated retina) than on phylogenetic proximity between species.
(Received March 12 1996)
(Accepted July 29 1996)
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