The light response of retinal ganglion cells is truncated by a displaced amacrine circuit

Neuron. 1997 Apr;18(4):637-50. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80304-9.


The vertebrate retina contains ganglion cells that appear to be specialized for detecting temporal changes. The characteristic response of these cells is a transient burst of action potentials when a stationary image is presented or removed, and often a strong discharge to moving images. These transient and motion-sensitive responses are thought to result from processing in the inner retina that involves amacrine cells, but the critical interactions have been difficult to reveal. Here, we used a cell-ablation technique to remove a subpopulation of amacrine cells from the mouse retina. Their ablation changed transient ganglion cell responses into prolonged discharges. This suggests that transient responses are generated, at least in part, by a truncation of sustained excitatory input to the ganglion cells and that the ablated amacrine cells are critical for this process.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Light*
  • Mice
  • Neural Inhibition
  • Reaction Time
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / classification
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / radiation effects*