The cellular basis for suppressive rod-cone interaction

Vis Neurosci. 1988;1(3):263-73. doi: 10.1017/s0952523800001929.


The response to spatially focal flicker is enhanced by dim, spatially diffuse, rod-stimulating backgrounds. This effect is called suppressive rod-cone interaction (SRCI) as it reflects a tonic, suppressive influence of dark-adapted rods upon cone pathways which is removed by selective rod-light adaptation. SRCI is observed in amphibian retina with intracellular recordings from most cone-driven cells including the cones themselves, and is most obvious using stimuli flickering at frequencies too rapid for rods to follow. SRCI is blocked by glutamate analogs which selectively block the photic response of horizontal cells (HCs). In the presence of these agents, flicker responses from bipolar cells and cones are enhanced to levels normally seen only with selective rod-light adaptation. In the HCs themselves, SRCI is similarly blocked by lead chloride which blocks rod-, but not cone-related activity. In amphibian and cat HCs and in human observers, SRCI is limited by a space constant of very similar value (between 100 and 150 microns). We suggest that SRCI in all three species is mediated by HCs: in amphibians, SRCI must at least partially reflect rod-modulation of HC feedback onto cones.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Dark Adaptation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Flicker Fusion / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kynurenic Acid
  • Lead
  • Models, Biological
  • Necturus
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Pipecolic Acids
  • Psychophysics
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Xenopus


  • Pipecolic Acids
  • Lead
  • 2,3-piperidinedicarboxylic acid
  • lead chloride
  • Kynurenic Acid