1. Horizontal cells, identified by their morphology, were isolated from the salamander retina and examined in whole cell patch clamp. 2. All cells showed large outward currents activating positive to about -50 mV, and a minority of cells showed fast, tetrodotoxin-suppressible Na+ currents. Slow inward currents that might shape the light responses were never observed. 3. All cells showed conductance increases to both gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine that were completely blocked by bicuculline and strychnine, respectively. No cross-blocking by these antagonists was observed. Partial replacements of Cl- with large, impermeant anions indicated that both GABA- and glycine-evoked currents were carried by Cl- ions. 4. Responses to both GABA and glycine desensitized strongly with time constants of approximately 2 s. 5. Responses to glutamate were not enhanced by glycine. Similarly, responses to GABA were not enhanced by glutamate. 6. GABA-mediated synaptic interactions between horizontal cells may account for the changes in the kinetics of horizontal cell light responses seen when glycine is applied to the intact retina.