Feedforward lateral inhibition in retinal bipolar cells: input-output relation of the horizontal cell-depolarizing bipolar cell synapse

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Apr 15;88(8):3310-3. doi: 10.1073/pnas.88.8.3310.


Lateral inhibition is the ubiquitous strategy used by visual neurons for spatial resolution throughout the animal kingdom. It has been a puzzle whether lateral inputs in retinal bipolar cells are mediated by the horizontal cell (HC)-cone feedback synapse, by the HC-bipolar cell feedforward synapse, or by both. By blocking the central inputs of the depolarizing bipolar cells (DBCs) with L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate, we were able to eliminate the contribution of the feedback synapse and to demonstrate the postsynaptic light response in DBCs mediated by the HC-DBC feedforward synapse. The HC-DBC feedforward synapse contributes roughly one-third of the surround response whereas the HC-cone-DBC feedback synapse probably contributes the rest.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Ambystoma
  • Aminobutyrates / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Light
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects


  • Aminobutyrates
  • 2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid