Different postsynaptic events in two types of retinal bipolar cell

Nature. 1980 Nov 6;288(5786):84-6. doi: 10.1038/288084a0.


The first synapse in the vertebrate visual system is made between the photoreceptors and the biopolar cells. Bioplar cells fall into two distinct classes according to whether the cell hyperpolarizes or depolarizes to small centred spots of light. Most evidence indicates that the light-induced hyperpolarization of the photoreceptprs suppresses transmitter release from the synaptic terminals, and it is probable that the differences between the two bipolar cell classes results from the different actions of the photoreceptor transmitter. In analysing the membrane potential fluctuations in both types of bipolar cell we find that the voltage noise spectra differ. It is to be expected that postsynaptic noise would be composed of the sum of noise generated in and transmitted from the cones and the noise arising from the statistical nature of synaptic transmission. We report here evidence for two such components in the voltage noise spectra recorded from each type of bipolar cell. The differences in the frequency distribution of the presumed transmitter-related components indicates that the transmitter generates events of longer duration in the depolarizing biopolar cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evoked Potentials
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Time Factors
  • Turtles