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J Neurochem. 2010 Oct;115(1):102-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.06906.x. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

The effect of aminosulfonate buffers on the light responses and intracellular pH of goldfish retinal horizontal cells.

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Neuroscience Institute, Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Retinal horizontal cell feedback acts as a gain control at the first synapse in the visual system and generates center-surround receptive fields in the outer retina. One model of feedback proposes that elevation of protons in the photoreceptor synaptic cleft produces feedback. Most evidence supporting the proton model has depended on the effect of proton buffers, in particular aminosulfonates, but these agents could potentially have effects other than external pH regulation. We therefore determined if the effects of aminosulfonates on horizontal cell rollback, an indicator of feedback, were consistent with external proton buffering. Intracellular recording from horizontal cells in isolated goldfish retina revealed that rollback was blocked only by aminosulfonates with an acid dissociation constant suited for buffering at the pH (7.5) of the Ringer's solution. In isolated goldfish horizontal cells, aminosulfonates, even those that did not block rollback, altered intracellular pH. This suggests that the effect of aminosulfonates on rollback is not because of changing intracellular pH. Measures of both intracellular and extracellular pH revealed that treatment with either glutamate or kainate resulted in acidification. As glutamate produced both internal and external acidification, intracellular and extracellular horizontal cell pH would be expected to increase in response to light, a change consistent with the proton model of feedback.

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