The resistances of the horizontal cell syncytium in the vertebrate retina are modulated in a time-dependent fashion during light stimulation. Therefore, the spatial properties of horizontal cells are expected to change with time after the illumination conditions are altered. This study was designed to investigate time- and intensity-dependent changes in the receptive-field properties of L1-type horizontal cells in the turtle Mauremys caspica. Photoresponses were elicited by monochromatic (650 nm) light stimuli of 2-s duration covering retinal spots of different radii. The length constants were derived from the relationships between amplitude and spot radius that were constructed for different time intervals after onset of the light stimulus. For a given stimulus intensity, the length constant transiently increased to a peak value and then slowly recovered to a plateau level. When the length constant was compared to the amplitude of the response to full-field illumination for the entire duration of the light stimulus, an ellipse-like curve was obtained indicating that for a given membrane potential, two different values of the length constant could be obtained. Dopamine considerably reduced the size of the receptive fields but did not affect the time-dependent changes in the length constant. These results indicate that changes in the membrane resistance underlie short-term modulation of the receptive-field properties of turtle L1-type horizontal cells after onset of a light stimulus.
- Cellular coupling
- Length constant
- Time-dependent ionic conductance
- Voltage-dependent ionic conductance