The Interplexiform Cell System. II. Effects of Dopamine on Goldfish Retinal Neurones

W. L. Hedden, J. E. Dowling


The effects of atomized solutions of dopamine and certain related compounds have been tested on the intracellularly recorded activity of receptor, horizontal, bipolar and amacrine cells in the goldfish retina. Dopamine depolarizes the cone L-type horizontal cells and reduces the amplitude of light-evoked responses. These effects on L-type horizontal cells are completely abolished by the $\alpha $-adrenergic blocker, phentolamine, but only partially depressed by the $\beta $-blocker, propanolol. L-Dopa, noradrenalin, and serotonin do not have effects on L-type horizontal cells when applied at concentrations similar to those that cause maximal dopamine effects. The results suggest that the effects of dopamine on L-type horizontal cells are specific, and we propose that they mimic the effects of interplexiform cell activity. Dopamine has no effects on rod horizontal cells in goldfish and variable effects on C-type horizontal cells. On bipolar cells, dopamine alters the dark membrane potential, enhances the central response to light, and depresses the surround response. Dopamine also decreases the horizontal cell feedback evident in cone responses. Finally, dopamine strongly depolarizes the transient type of amacrine cells, but it has no significant effect on the sustained type of amacrine cells. Assuming that dopamine is the transmitter of interplexiform cells, we suggest that these neurons regulate lateral inhibitory effects mediated by L-type horizontal cells in the outer plexiform layer and transient amacrine cells in the inner plexiform layer. In addition, it appears as if interplexiform cells have specific effects on bipolar cells and are capable of regulating centresurround antagonism in these cells. The net effect of interplexiform cell activity is to isolate the bipolars from the influence of the surround.