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Vision Res. 1997 Dec;37(24):3509-29.

Neurobiology of retinal dopamine in relation to degenerative states of the tissue.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, U.K.


Neurobiology of retinal dopamine is reviewed and discussed in relation to degenerative states of the tissue. The Introduction deals with the basic physiological actions of dopamine on the different neurons in vertebrate retinae with an emphasis upon mammals. The intimate relationship between the dopamine and melatonin systems is also covered. Recent advances in the molecular biology of dopamine receptors is reviewed in some detail. As degenerative states of the retina, three examples are highlighted: Parkinson's disease; ageing; and retinal dystrophy (retinitis pigmentosa). As visual functions controlled, at least in part, by dopamine, absolute sensitivity, spatial contrast sensitivity, temporal (including flicker) sensitivity and colour vision are reviewed. Possible cellular and synaptic bases of the visual dysfunctions observed during retinal degenerations are discussed in relation to dopaminergic control. It is concluded that impairment of the dopamine system during retinal degenerations could give rise to many of the visual abnormalities observed. In particular, the involvement of dopamine in controlling the coupling of horizontal and amacrine cell lateral systems appears to be central to the visual defects seen.

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