Distribution of the mt1 melatonin receptor in the guinea pig retina was immunocytochemically investigated using peptide-specific anti-mt1 receptor antibody. Western blots of the guinea pig retina showed a single band at approximately 37 kilodalton (kD) immunoreactive to the anti-mt1 antibody. The most intense immunoreactivity for the mt1 receptor was detected in the cell bodies of ganglion cells. Their dendrites and axons were also immunolabeled. Subpopulations of amacrine cells, the inner plexiform layer, and the outer plexiform layer also exhibited moderate to weak immunolabeling. The mt1-positive amacrine cells were located either at the vitreal border of the inner nuclear layer or displaced in the ganglion cell layer. Double immunolabeling using antibodies to the mt1 receptor and tyrosine hydroxylase revealed that the majority of dopaminergic amacrine cells showed mt1 immunoreactivity. Almost all the 1CA type dopaminergic cells were mt1 positive while the 2CA type cells less frequently exhibited mt1 immunoreaction. By double immunolabeling for the mt1 receptor and GABA, more than 50% of the mt1-immunoreactive amacrine cells were shown to be GABAergic neurons. Approximately one-third of the GABAergic amacrine cells were immunolabeled for the mt1 receptor. The present results demonstrate expression of the mt1 receptor in diverse neuronal cell types in the guinea pig retina and provide the first evidence for the direct effect of melatonin on dopaminergic and GABAergic amacrine cells
viathe mt1 receptor.