Turtle C-type horizontal cells act as push-pull devices

Vis Neurosci. 2001 Nov-Dec;18(6):893-900.


Chromaticity (C-type) horizontal cells in the retina of cold-blooded vertebrates receive antagonistic inputs from cone photoreceptors of different spectral types leading to color opponency. The relative contribution of each spectral type of cones can be selectively altered by chromatic background illumination. Therefore, the spectral properties of C-type horizontal cells are expected to change when the intensity and color of ambient illumination are altered. In this study, we investigated the effects of chromatic background lights upon color opponency in Red/Green (RGH) and Yellow/Blue (YBH) C-type horizontal cells in the everted eyecup preparation of the turtle Mauremys caspica. Photoresponses were elicited by long-wavelength and short-wavelength light stimuli in the dark-adapted state and under conditions of chromatic background illumination. We found that the total voltage range. within which graded depolarizing and the hyperpolarizing photoresponses could be elicited, either increased or decreased depending upon the color of the background light. However, the maximal and minimal potential levels determined respectively by long-wavelength and short-wavelength light stimuli of supersaturating intensity remained unchanged, regardless of the wavelength and intensity of the background. These findings indicate that turtle C-type horizontal cells operate as push-pull devices. A sufficiently bright short-wavelength stimulus can push them all the way to the maximal hyperpolarizing level while a very bright long-wavelength stimulus can pull them towards the most depolarizing potential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Ocular
  • Animals
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Retina / physiology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Turtles / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology