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Vis Neurosci. 2002 Jan-Feb;19(1):71-84.

Spatial-chromatic interactions in C-type horizontal cells of the turtle (Mauremys caspica) retina.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Rappaport Institute, Haifa, Israel.


Horizontal cells are second-order retinal neurons that play a key role in spatial information processing. In some cold-blooded vertebrates such as turtles, a subtype of these cells, the chromaticity horizontal cells exhibit color-opponent responses and therefore are considered to be important also for color information processing. To reveal spatial and color interactions, the receptive-field properties of Red/Green and Yellow/Blue chromaticity horizontal cells in the retina of the turtle Mauremys caspica were studied by intracellular recordings from the everted eyecup preparation. We found that the polarity of the photoresponses depended not only upon the wavelength and intensity of the stimulus, but also upon its spatial configuration. Thus, a hyperpolarizing photoresponse that was elicited by full-field stimulation with bright light of wavelength close to the "neutral" one was reversed in polarity to a pure depolarizing one when a small spot or a thin annular pattern were used for stimulation. This finding could not be explained either by different balances between depolarizing and hyperpolarizing inputs to different cells or by stray light that effectively reduced the light intensity in the center of the small spot. Rather, it was found that the depolarizing and hyperpolarizing components were characterized by different receptive-field size and that these differences could account for the dependency of response polarity upon the spatial pattern of the stimulus. These findings indicate that color information processing in turtle C-type horizontal cells is a complex process that depends upon the wavelength and intensity of the light stimulus as well as upon its spatial properties.

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