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Vis Neurosci. 1995 Sep-Oct;12(5):951-70.

Two signals in the human rod visual system: a model based on electrophysiological data.

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Department of Psychology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0109, USA.


In the human rod visual system, self-cancellation of flicker signals is observed at high rod intensity levels near 15 Hz, both perceptually and in the electroetinogram (ERG). This and other evidence suggests that two rod signals are transmitted through the human retina with different speeds of transmission. Here we report a series of flicker ERG recordings from a normal observer and an observer who lacks cone vision. From these results, we propose a quantitative model of the two rod signals, which assumes (1) that the amplitude of the slow signal grows linearly with log intensity but then saturates at approximately 1 scot. td; (2) that the amplitude of the fast signal grows linearly with intensity; (3) that there is a difference in time delay of approximately 33 ms between two rod signals of the same polarity (or of approximately 67 ms if the signals are of inverted polarity); and (4) that the time delay of both signals declines linearly with log intensity (by approximately 10 ms per log scot. td). These simple assumptions provide a remarkably good account of the experimental data. Our results and model are relevant to current anatomical theories of the mammalian rod visual system. We speculate that the slower signal in the human ERG may reflect the transmission of the rod response via the rod bipolars and the AII amacrine cells, while the faster signal may reflect its transmission via the rod-cone gap junctions and the cone bipolars. There are, however, several objections to this simple correspondence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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