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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Dec 7;96(25):14611-6.

Horizontal cells reveal cone type-specific adaptation in primate retina.

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  • 1Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.


The human cone visual system maintains contrast sensitivity over a wide range of ambient illumination, a property known as light adaptation. The first stage in light adaptation is believed to take place at the first neural step in vision, within the long, middle, and short wavelength sensitive cone photoreceptors. To determine the properties of adaptation in primate outer retina, we measured cone signals in second-order interneurons, the horizontal cells, of the macaque monkey. Horizontal cells provide a unique site for studying early adaptational mechanisms; they are but one synapse away from the photoreceptors, and each horizontal cell receives excitatory inputs from many cones. Light adaptation occurred over the entire range of light levels evaluated, a luminance range of 15-1,850 trolands. Adaptation was demonstrated to be independent in each cone type and to be spatially restricted. Thus, in primates, a major source of sensitivity regulation occurs before summation of cone signals in the horizontal cell.

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