Horizontal cell electrical coupling in the giant danio: synaptic modulation by dopamine and synaptic maintenance by calcium.

McMahon DG, Mattson MP
Brain Res. 1996 718 (1-2): 89-96

PMID: 8773769 · DOI:10.1016/0006-8993(96)00043-1

Electrical synapses, and their structural manifestation, gap junctions, are critical elements of retinal circuitry. These synapses are subject to both rapid modulation and slower structural changes by physiological signals which mediate changes in the adaptational state of the retina. The electrical synapses of fish retinal horizontal cells are an excellent preparation for in vitro studies of electrical synapses. We have examined the rapid modulation of electrical coupling by dopamine and effects on the expression and maintenance of electrical synapses by cell calcium in pairs of horizontal cells isolated from retinas of the giant danio (Danio aquipinnatus). We report that rapid modulation by dopamine reduces junctional conductance by modifying gap junction channel gating, while maintaining cells in reduced calcium medium, and lowering intracellular calcium concentration, results in the loss of electrical coupling. The effects of calcium on synaptic maintenance may be related to structural changes observed in horizontal cell electrical synapses during light adaptation.

MeSH Terms (13)

Animals Calcium Cells, Cultured Cyprinidae Dark Adaptation Dopamine Electrophysiology Gap Junctions Patch-Clamp Techniques Retina Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells Synapses Synaptic Transmission

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