Rabbit retinal ganglion cell responses mediated by alpha-bungarotoxin-sensitive nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

Academic Article


  • The responses of many ganglion cells in the rabbit retina are mediated, at least in part, by acetylcholine (ACh) acting on neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). nAChRs are comprised of alpha and beta subunits; three beta subunits and nine alpha subunits of nAChRs have been identified and these subunits can combine to form a large number of functionally distinct nAChR subtypes. We examined the effects of cholinergic agents on the light-evoked responses of ganglion cells to determine which nAChR subtypes mediate the effects of ACh. Extracellular recordings of retinal ganglion cells were made in intact everted eyecup preparations and nicotinic agonists and antagonists were added to the superfusate. While several ganglion cell classes exhibited methyllycaconitine (MLA) sensitivity, the directionally selective (DS) ganglion cells were most sensitive; exposure to 30 nanomolar MLA, a concentration reportedly too low to affect alphaBgt-insensitive nAChRs, suppressed the stimulus-evoked responses of DS cells without eliminating directional selectivity. Epibatidine, which at low concentrations is an agonist selective for alphaBgt-insensitive nAChRs, stimulated firing of various cell types including DS ganglion cells at low nanomolar concentrations. The effects of the various agents tested persisted under cobalt-induced synaptic blockade. The low nanomolar MLA and epibatidine sensitivity of DS cells suggests that DS ganglion cells express both alphaBgt-sensitive and alphaBgt-insensitive nAChRs. Other ganglion cell types appear to express only alphaBgt-sensitive nAChRs but not alphaBgt-insensitive nAChRs.
  • Published In


  • Aconitine, Animals, Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic, Bungarotoxins, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Female, Male, Nicotinic Agonists, Nicotinic Antagonists, Pyridines, Rabbits, Receptors, Nicotinic, Retinal Ganglion Cells, Synaptic Transmission
  • Author List

  • Reed BT; Amthor FR; Keyser KT
  • Start Page

  • 427
  • End Page

  • 438
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 4