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J Physiol. 1987 Oct;391:125-40.

Voltage gain of signal transfer from retinal rods to bipolar cells in the tiger salamander.

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Department of Biophysics and Medical Physics, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


1. Intracellular recordings of the voltage responses of rods and both functional classes of bipolar cell were made in the isolated, perfused retina of the tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum. 2. Brief, dim flashes of 519 nm light delivered to the receptive-field centres were used to measure the flash sensitivities of twenty-one on-centre bipolar cells and thirty-six off-centre cells. In each experiment the flash sensitivity of a rod was also measured using diffuse illumination of the same duration and wave-length. 3. The mean flash sensitivity of the rods (fifty-nine cells) was 4.47 mV photon-1 micron 2 flash. The mean flash sensitivity of the off-centre bipolar cells was 35.4 mV photon-1 micron 2 flash (thirty-six cells). The mean flash sensitivity of the on-centre bipolar cells was 12.5 mV photon-1 micron 2 flash. 4. The ratio of the flash sensitivity of the bipolar cell to that of a rod recorded in the same retina defined the gain of voltage transfer from rod to bipolar cell. For signal transfer to on-centre bipolar cells the mean value of the voltage gain was 5.05 +/- 1.34 (S.E. of mean). For signal transfer to the off-centre bipolar cells, the mean value of the gain was 10.4 +/- 1.29. 5. The on-centre cell gain in the salamander was smaller by a factor of 27 than that of the on-centre cells in the dogfish retina (Ashmore & Falk, 1980 a), while the off-centre cell gain was comparable in the two species. Possible reasons for the large difference between the voltage gains of on-centre cells in the dogfish and salamander are considered.

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