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J Neurosci. 1988 Jul;8(7):2279-88.

Modulation of cone horizontal cell activity in the teleost fish retina. III. Effects of prolonged darkness and dopamine on electrical coupling between horizontal cells.

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Biological Laboratories, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138.


The effects of prolonged darkness and dopamine on the coupling between horizontal cells in the isolated, superfused white perch retina were studied. Two assays of coupling were employed; area versus amplitude relationships (area-response curves) and the diffusion of the fluorescent dye Lucifer yellow from intracellularly injected cells to neighboring cells. In prolonged dark-adapted retinas, area-response curves were difficult to determine because of the small light responses; however, light-evoked responses did not increase in size when light spots were larger than 0.8 mm in diameter. Following the presentation of dim background illumination that partially sensitized the retina, responses to light spots of various sizes were enhanced and an area-response curve could be constructed. Subsequent presentation of moderate background illumination that more fully sensitized the retina resulted in reduced responses to small spots (less than 1.6 mm in diameter) and enhanced responses to large spot or full-field stimuli. In retinas exposed to moderate background illumination, Lucifer yellow injected intracellularly into cone horizontal cells diffused into many neighboring horizontal cells. The coupled cells were very similar in morphology, suggesting they were of the same type. In prolonged dark-adapted retinas, on the other hand, the dye was usually restricted to the injected cell and a few adjacent cells. These results indicate that coupling between cone horizontal cells is modulated by prolonged darkness and background illumination. Following dopamine (50 microM) application, in both 6-OHDA-treated and untreated retinas, changes in area-response curves of cone horizontal cells were observed just opposite to those that occurred when prolonged dark-adapted retinas were exposed to background illumination. That is, following 5 min application of dopamine to the retina, responses to small spots (less than 2 mm in diameter) increased in size while responses to larger spots decreased in amplitude compared with control responses. Following 20 min of superfusion with dopamine, the recorded responses were very small, and an accurate area-response curve could not be determined. Following dopamine application to light-sensitized retinas, Lucifer yellow was restricted to the injected cells or to the injected cell and a few neighboring cells. The results suggest that the modulation of coupling between cone horizontal cells by prolonged darkness and background illumination may be mediated by dopamine. Spatial properties of rod horizontal cells were also examined.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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