Rod pathways in mammalian retinae

Trends Neurosci. 1990 Mar;13(3):110-5. doi: 10.1016/0166-2236(90)90187-f.


A variety of recent experiments has resolved the way in which signals are transmitted from rod photoreceptors to ganglion cells in the mammalian retina. Rods connect to a single class of rod bipolar cell, which depolarize in response to light. Rod bipolar cells are not connected directly to ganglion cells: they synapse onto rod amacrine cells, which excite ON-centre ganglion cells via gap junctions, and inhibit OFF-centre ganglion cells via inhibitory glycine synapses. Monoamines have particular influences on the rod system, through synapses with rod amacrine and rod bipolar cells, and a function for dopamine and indoleamines within this system can be hypothesized from recent experiments. There is evidence to suggest that dopaminergic amacrine cells bring the surround response into the rod system through synapses with the rod amacrine cell, and that an indoleamine, probably serotonin, increases the signal in the ON pathway through a feedback synapse onto the rod bipolar terminal.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Serotonin / physiology*


  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine