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Spontaneous activity in developing turtle retinal ganglion cells: Pharmacological studies

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Evelyne SernagorORCiD


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Extracellular recordings were obtained from the ganglion cell (GC) layer during correlated spontaneous bursting activity (SBA) in the immature turtle retina. Pharmacological agents were bath-applied, and their effects on burst and correlation parameters were determined. SBA requires synaptic transmission. It was blocked in the presence of curare and mecamylamine, two cholinergic nicotinic antagonists, and enhanced with neostigmine, a cholinesterase inhibitor. SBA was profoundly inhibited during blockade of glutamatergic receptors with the broad spectrum antagonist kynurenate and it vanished with 6,7-dinitroquinoxaline-2-3-dione (DNQX) and 6-cyano-7- nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX), two AMPA/kainate receptor antagonists. Blockade of NMDA receptors with D(-)-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (D- AP-5) led only to a modest reduction in SBA. Blockade of GABA(A) receptors with bicuculline prolonged the duration of the bursts. Inhibition of GABA uptake with nipecotic acid led to a decrease in burst rate. Blockade of K+ channels with cesium (Cs+) and tetraethylammonium (TEA) led to a dramatic decrease in excitability. Burst propagation between neighboring GCs was reduced by K+ channel blockade. Gap junction blockade had no consistent effect on bursts or correlation parameters. None of these drugs had a strong effect on the refractory period between bursts. We conclude that correlated SBA in immature turtle GCs requires both cholinergic nicotinic and glutamatergic (mainly through AMPA/kainate receptors) synaptic transmission. GABAergic activity modulates the intensity and the duration of the bursts. Extracellular K+ is involved in lateral activity propagation and increases retinal excitability, which may be required for burst generation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sernagor E, Grzywacz NM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neuroscience

Year: 1999

Volume: 19

Issue: 10

Pages: 3874-3887

Print publication date: 15/05/1999

ISSN (print): 0270-6474

ISSN (electronic): 1529-2401

Publisher: Society for Neuroscience

PubMed id: 10234019


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