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Sep 10, 2015
PloS One
Amacrine cells were targeted for whole cell recording using two-photon fluorescence microscopy in a transgenic mouse line in which the promoter for dopamine receptor 2 drove expression of green fluorescent protein in a narrow field tristratified amacrine cell (TNAC) that had not been studied previously. Light evoked a multiphasic response that was the sum of hyperpolarizing and depolarization synaptic inputs consistent with distinct dendritic ramifications in the off and on sublamina of the inner plexiform layer. The amplitude and waveform of the response, which consisted of an initial brief hyperpolarization at light onset followed by recovery to a plateau potential close to dark resting potential and a hyperpolarizing response at the light offset varied little over an intensity range from 0.4 to ~10^6 Rh*/rod/s. This suggests that the cell functions as a differentiator that generates an output signal (a transient reduction in inhibitory input to downstream retina neurons) that is proportional to the derivative of light input independent of its intensity. The underlying circuitry appears to consist of rod and cone driven on and off bipolar cells that provide direct excitatory input to the cell as well as to GABAergic amacrine cells that are synaptically coupled to TNAC. Canonical reagents that blocked excitatory (glutamatergic) and inhibitory (GABA and glycine) synaptic transmission had effects on responses to scotopic stimuli consistent with the rod driven component of the proposed circuit. However, responses evoked by photopic stimuli were paradoxical and could not be interpreted on the basis of conventional thinking about the neuropharmacology of synaptic interactions in the retina.

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