The electroretinogram (ERG) of the dark-adapted cat eye in response to brief ganzfeld flashes of a wide range of intensities was recorded after intravitreal injection of n-methyl DL aspartate (NMDLA, cumulative intravitreal concentration of 1.3-3.9 mM) to suppress inner-retinal components, and after intravitreal DL or L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid (DL-APB, 1-3 mM; L-APB, 1.2 mM) and 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3 dione (CNQX, 40-60 microM), to suppress all post-receptoral neuronal responses. Rod PII, the ERG component arising from rod bipolar cells, was derived by subtracting records obtained after APB and CNQX from post-NMDLA records. When we measured the derived response at fixed times after the stimulus, we found that PII initially increased in proportion to stimulus intensity without any sign of a threshold. The leading edge of PII at early times after the stimulus, when the response was still small, was well described by V(t) = kI(t-td)5 where k is a constant, I is the intensity of the stimulus, and td is a brief delay of about 3 ms. Correspondingly, the time for the response to rise to an arbitrary small criterion voltage Vcrit was adequately fitted by tcrit = td + (Vcrit/kI)1/5. The time course of the leading edge of the PII response can be interpreted to indicate that the mechanism generating PII introduces three stages of temporal integration in addition to the three stages that are provided by the mechanism of the rod photoreceptors. This finding is consistent with the operation within the rod bipolar cell of a G-protein cascade similar to that in the rods.