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Vis Neurosci. 1993 Nov-Dec;10(6):981-9.

Synaptic feedback, depolarization, and color opponency in cone photoreceptors.

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Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455.


For some 20 years, synaptic feedback from horizontal cells to cones has often been invoked, more or less convincingly, in discussions of retinal action and vision. However, feedback in cones has proved to be rather complex and difficult to study experimentally. The mechanisms and consequences of feedback are therefore still only partly understood. This review attempts to assess the knowns and unknowns. The limitations of the evidence for feedback are reviewed to support the position that unequivocal evidence still largely rests on intracellular recording from cones. Of the three distinct types of depolarization observed in cones, the graded depolarization is taken as the fundamental manifestation of feedback. The evidence for the hypothesis that GABA is the neurotransmitter for feedback appears reasonably strong but several complications will have to be resolved to make the hypothesis more secure. There is evidence that feedback contributes to aspects of light adaptation and spatiotemporal processing of visual information. The contributions seem modest in magnitude. The role of feedback in shaping the color-opponent responses of retinal neurons is evaluated with particular emphasis on pharmacological studies, spatial and temporal aspects of the response of chromatic horizontal cells, and the enigmatic nature of depolarizations in blue- and green-sensitive cones. On this and other evidence, it is suggested that feedback may impress some detectable wavelength dependency in some cones but the dominant mechanisms for color opponency probably reside beyond the photoreceptors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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