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Eur J Neurosci. 2011 Jan;33(1):36-48. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2010.07484.x. Epub 2010 Nov 22.

Light-evoked synaptic activity of retinal ganglion and amacrine cells is regulated in developing mouse retina.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Recent studies have shown a continued maturation of visual responsiveness and synaptic activity of retina after eye opening, including the size of receptive fields of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), light-evoked synaptic output of RGCs, bipolar cell spontaneous synaptic inputs to RGCs, and the synaptic connections between RGCs and ON and OFF bipolar cells. Light deprivation retarded some of these age-dependent changes. However, many other functional and morphological features of RGCs are not sensitive to visual experience. To determine whether light-evoked synaptic responses of RGCs undergo developmental change, we directly examined the light-evoked synaptic inputs from ON and OFF synaptic pathways to RGCs in developing retinas, and found that both light-evoked excitatory and inhibitory synaptic currents decreased, but not increased, with age. We also examined the light-evoked synaptic inputs from ON and OFF synaptic pathways to amacrine cells in developing retinas and found that the light-evoked synaptic input of amacrine cells is also downregulated in developing mouse retina. Different from the developmental changes of RGC spontaneous synaptic activity, dark rearing has little effect on the developmental changes of light-evoked synaptic activity of both RGCs and amacrine cells. Therefore, we concluded that the synaptic mechanisms mediating spontaneous and light-evoked synaptic activity of RGCs and amacrine cells are likely to be different.

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