Inner and outer retinal pathways both contribute to surround inhibition of salamander ganglion cells

Tomomi Ichinose, Peter D. Lukasiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Illumination of the receptive-field surround reduces the sensitivity of a retinal ganglion cell to centre illumination. The steady, antagonistic receptive-field surround of retinal ganglion cells is classically attributed to the signalling of horizontal cells in the outer plexiform layer (OPL). However, amacrine cell signalling in the inner plexiform layer (IPL) also contributes to the steady receptive-field surround of the ganglion cell. We examined the contributions of these two forms of presynaptic lateral inhibition to ganglion cell light sensitivity by measuring the effects of surround illumination on EPSCs evoked by centre illumination. GABAC receptor antagonists reduced inhibition attributed to dim surround illumination, suggesting that this inhibition was mediated by signalling to bipolar cell axon terminals. Brighter surround illumination further reduced the light sensitivity of the ganglion cell. The bright surround effects on the EPSCs were insensitive to GABA receptor blockers. Perturbing outer retinal signalling with either carbenoxolone or cobalt blocked the effects of the bright surround illumination, but not the effects of dim surround illumination. We found that the light sensitivities of presynaptic, inhibitory pathways in the IPL and OPL were different. GABAC receptor blockers reduced dim surround inhibition, suggesting it was mediated in the IPL. By contrast, carbenoxolone and cobalt reduced bright surround, suggesting it was mediated by horizontal cells in the OPL. Direct amacrine cell input to ganglion cells, mediated by GABAA receptors, comprised another surround pathway that was most effectively activated by bright illumination. Our results suggest that surround activation of lateral pathways in the IPL and OPL differently modulate the sensitivity of the ganglion cell to centre illumination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-535
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005


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