Voltage- and time-dependent potassium conductances enhance the frequency response of horizontal cells in the turtle retina

Brain Res. 1993 Aug 13;619(1-2):89-97. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(93)91599-n.


The contribution of voltage- and time-dependent potassium conductances to visual information processing in the distal turtle retina was studied in the isolated retina preparation. The effects of specific potassium channel blockers; tetraethylammonium (TEA) and 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) on the membrane potential and photoresponses of L-cones and L-type horizontal cells were monitored with intracellular microelectrodes. Both drugs produced a large depolarization of the L-type horizontal cells though the effect of 4-AP was more transient than that of TEA. While TEA produced response augmentation associated with negligible changes in the kinetics of the photoresponses, 4-AP induced profound changes in response kinetics which were seen as an overshoot of the resting potential at stimulus offset and a pronounced slowing down in the return of the membrane potential toward the prestimulus level. The effects of TEA on horizontal cells could be accounted for by the action of the drug on cone photoreceptors. The effects of 4-AP on the horizontal cells could not be attributed to an indirect action mediated by either the cone photoreceptors or by GABAergic and/or glycinergic neurons in the inner retina. These results suggest that voltage- and time-dependent potassium conductances act to speed up the recovery of the turtle horizontal cell membrane potential from the effects of bright light stimuli. Such a role was supported by the effects of potassium channel blockers on the frequency response curves of horizontal cells: the corner frequency was reduced on the average by 25%.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 4-Aminopyridine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Darkness
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Potassium Channels / drug effects
  • Potassium Channels / physiology*
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Tetraethylammonium
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds / pharmacology
  • Time Factors
  • Turtles


  • Potassium Channels
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds
  • Tetraethylammonium
  • 4-Aminopyridine