Adult neurons, isolated from the salamander retina, were maintained in low-density cell culture and examined for synapse formation by electrophysiological and electron microscopic techniques. Morphologically identifiable rod, cone, horizontal, bipolar, and amacrine/ganglion cells survived for many months, grew processes, and formed numerous cell contacts. Intracellular recordings showed the presence of a variety of voltage- and time-dependent conductances and both electrical and chemical transmission among these cells. At the ultrastructural level, gap junctions, monad ribbon synapses, and conventional synapses, like those present in the intact retina, were observed in sibling cultures. Thus, all major classes of adult retinal neurons, in addition to ganglion cells, are able to regenerate processes and reform synapses. The regenerated synaptic contacts are functional and structurally diverse.
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