Distinct Temporal Patterns of Expression of Sodium Channel‐like Immunoreactivity During the Prenatal Development of the Monkey and Cat Retina

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



European Journal of Neuroscience








cones; differentiation; ganglion cells; neuroblasts; optic nerve


Polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies prepared against the α‐subunit of the voltage‐gated sodium channel (αNaCh) were used to examine the distribution of sodium channel‐like immunoreactivity during the prenatal development of the cat and rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) retina. At all prenatal ages studied, beginning on embryonic day 29 (E29) in the cat and E52 in the monkey, both antibodies labelled optic axons. With the polyclonal antibodies, the appearance of positive cells largely mirrored the onset of their morphological maturation. Immunoreactivity appeared first in the somata of ganglion cells, and subsequently the inner plexiform layer could be distinguished by its intense immunolabelling. A few weeks later horizontal cells displayed immunolabelling that extended to their dendrites in the developing outer plexiform layer. This was followed by immunoreactive cones, with bipolar cells labelled only postnatally. By contrast, with the monoclonal antibody some cells were found to be immunoreactive while their somata were still in the ventricular layer (E33 in cat and E52 in monkey). Many of these cells appeared to migrate to the outer portion of the prospective inner nuclear layer, where they gradually acquired the morphological appearance of bipolar cells. Transient expression of immunolabelling with monoclonal sodium channel antibody was found in the cones of the cat and cones and rods of the monkey. These results indicate that different types of αNaCh‐like proteins are expressed in the mammalian retina at distinct developmental periods. Their presence at very early stages during development suggests that these proteins could play a specific role in the commitment and/or differentiation of specific retinal cell types. Copyright © 1995, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

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