The role of nAChR-mediated spontaneous retinal activity in visual system development

J Neurobiol. 2002 Dec;53(4):556-67. doi: 10.1002/neu.10140.


In the developing vertebrate retina, nAChR synapses are among the first to appear. This early cholinergic circuitry plays a key role in generating "retinal waves," spontaneously generated waves of action potentials that sweep across the ganglion cell layer. These retinal waves exist for a short period of time during development when several circuits within the visual system are being established. Here I review the cholinergic circuitry of the developing retina and the role these early circuits play in the development of the retina itself and of retinal projections to the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / physiology*
  • Retina / embryology
  • Retina / growth & development
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / embryology
  • Visual Pathways / growth & development


  • Receptors, Nicotinic