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Neuron. 2002 Mar 14;33(6):935-46.

AII (Rod) amacrine cells form a network of electrically coupled interneurons in the mammalian retina.

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University of Bergen, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Arstadveien 19, N-5009 Bergen, Norway.


AII (rod) amacrine cells in the mammalian retina are reciprocally connected via gap junctions, but there is no physiological evidence that demonstrates a proposed function as electrical synapses. In whole-cell recordings from pairs of AII amacrine cells in a slice preparation of the rat retina, bidirectional, nonrectifying electrical coupling was observed in all pairs with overlapping dendritic trees (average conductance approximately 700 pS). Coupling displayed characteristics of a low-pass filter, with no evidence for amplification of spike-evoked electrical postsynaptic potentials by active conductances. Coincidence detection, as well as precise temporal synchronization of subthreshold membrane potential oscillations and TTX-sensitive spiking, was commonly observed. These results indicate a unique mode of operation and integrative capability of the network of AII amacrine cells.

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