Involvement of glycinergic neurons in the diminished surround activity of ganglion cells in the dark-adapted rabbit retina

Vis Neurosci. 1991 Jan;6(1):43-53. doi: 10.1017/s0952523800000894.


Previous studies have reported that the surround responses of retinal ganglion cells weaken or disappear upon dark adaptation. The mechanism(s) by which this occurs is largely unknown, although changes in activity of retinal dopaminergic neurons have been implicated. In the light-adapted rabbit retina, the surround ON responses of OFF-center ganglion cells have been shown to be markedly reduced or abolished by a dopamine antagonist. This effect of a dopamine antagonist was recently shown to be reversed by the glycine antagonist strychnine and by compounds that elevate intracellular cAMP levels. The present study was conducted to determine whether strychnine and cAMP-elevating compounds could bring out the surround ON responses in OFF-center ganglion cells that are diminished upon dark adaptation. Extracellular recordings of OFF-center brisk ganglion cells were made from isolated, superfused retinal preparations. During the course of dark adaptation, the surround ON responses of many cells decreased markedly. Application of low micromolar concentrations of strychnine to the bathing solution brought out the surround ON responses in both brisk-transient and brisk-sustained OFF-center ganglion cells. The center OFF responses of these cells, on the other hand, were not enhanced by strychnine. Of the cAMP-elevating compounds tested, 8-(4-chlorophenylthio) cyclic AMP was the most effective in bringing out the surround ON responses in dark-adapted OFF-center ganglion cells. The effects of bath application of this cAMP analog were very similar to those of strychnine. The findings from this study suggest that under dark-adapted conditions glycinergic neurons inhibit the surround component of OFF-center ganglion cells. The release of glycine from these neurons is suggested to be regulated by a cAMP-dependent mechanism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aminobutyrates / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cyclic AMP / analogs & derivatives
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP / pharmacology
  • Dark Adaptation* / drug effects
  • Dopamine / pharmacology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Glycine / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Rabbits
  • Receptors, Glycine
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / physiology*
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Strychnine / pharmacology
  • Thionucleotides / pharmacology


  • Aminobutyrates
  • Receptors, Glycine
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • Thionucleotides
  • 8-((4-chlorophenyl)thio)cyclic-3',5'-AMP
  • Cyclic AMP
  • 2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid
  • Strychnine
  • Glycine
  • Dopamine