The retina adjusts its signaling gain over a wide range of light levels. A functional result of this is increased visual acuity at brighter luminance levels (light adaptation) due to shifts in the excitatory center-inhibitory surround receptive field parameters of ganglion cells that increases their sensitivity to smaller light stimuli. Recent work supports the idea that changes in ganglion cell spatial sensitivity with background luminance are due in part to inner retinal mechanisms, possibly including modulation of inhibition onto bipolar cells. To determine how the receptive fields of OFF cone bipolar cells may contribute to changes in ganglion cell resolution, the spatial extent and magnitude of inhibitory and excitatory inputs were measured from OFF bipolar cells under dark- and light-adapted conditions. There was no change in the OFF bipolar cell excitatory input with light adaptation; however, the spatial distributions of inhibitory inputs, including both glycinergic and GABAergic sources, became significantly narrower, smaller, and more transient. The magnitude and size of the OFF bipolar cell center-surround receptive fields as well as light-adapted changes in resting membrane potential were incorporated into a spatial model of OFF bipolar cell output to the downstream ganglion cells, which predicted an increase in signal output strength with light adaptation. We show a prominent role for inner retinal spatial signals in modulating the modeled strength of bipolar cell output to potentially play a role in ganglion cell visual sensitivity and acuity.
- bipolar cell
- γ-aminobutyric acid
- amacrine cell
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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