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Synaptic inputs to the ganglion cells in the tiger salamander retina.


The postsynaptic potentials (PSPs) that form the ganglion cell light response were isolated by polarizing the cell membrane with extrinsic currents while stimulating at either the center or surround of the cell's receptive field. The time-course and receptive field properties of the PSPs were correlated with those of the bipolar and amacrine cells. The tiger salamander retina contains four main types of ganglion cell: "on" center, "off" center, "on-off", and a "hybrid" cell that responds transiently to center, but sustainedly, to surround illumination. The results lead to these inferences. The on-ganglion cell receives excitatory synpatic input from the on bipolars and that synapse is "silent" in the dark. The off-ganglion cell receives excitatory synaptic input from the off bipolars with this synapse tonically active in the dark. The on-off and hybrid ganglion cells receive a transient excitatory input with narrow receptive field, not simply correlated with the activity of any presynaptic cell. All cell types receive a broad field transient inhibitory input, which apparently originates in the transient amacrine cells. Thus, most, but not all, ganglion cell responses can be explained in terms of synaptic inputs from bipolar and amacrine cells, integrated at the ganglion cell membrane.

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