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Differential effects of acetylcholine and glutamate blockade on the spatiotemporal dynamics of retinal waves

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Evelyne SernagorORCiD


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In the immature vertebrate retina, neighboring ganglion cells express spontaneous bursting activity (SBA), resulting in propagating waves. Previous studies suggest that the spontaneous bursting activity, asynchronous between the two eyes, controls the refinement of retinal ganglion cell projections to central visual targets. To understand how the patterns encoded within the waves contribute to the refinement of connections in the visual system, it is necessary to understand how wave propagation is regulated. We have used video-rate calcium imaging of spontaneous bursting activity in chick embryonic retinal ganglion cells to show how glutamatergic and cholinergic connections, two major excitatory synaptic drives involved in spontaneous bursting activity, contribute differentially to the spatiotemporal patterning of the waves. During partial blockade of cholinergic connections, cellular recruitment declines, leading to spatially more restricted waves. The velocity of wave propagation decreases during partial blockade of glutamatergic connections, but cellular recruitment remains substantially higher than during cholinergic blockade, thereby altering correlations in the activity of neighboring and distant ganglion cells. These findings show that cholinergic and glutamatergic connections exert different influences on the spatial and temporal properties of the waves, raising the possibility that they may play distinct roles during visual development.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sernagor E; Eglen SJ; O'Donovan MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Neuroscience

Year: 2000

Volume: 20

Issue: 2

Pages: RC56

ISSN (print): 0953-816X

ISSN (electronic): 1460-9568

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.