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Adaptation-Dependent Synchronous Activity Contributes to Receptive Field Size Change of Bullfrog Retinal Ganglion Cell

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034336
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Sensory Systems


Nearby retinal ganglion cells of similar functional subtype have a tendency to discharge spikes in synchrony. The synchronized activity is involved in encoding some aspects of visual input. On the other hand, neurons always continuously adjust their activities in adaptation to some features of visual stimulation, including mean ambient light, contrast level, etc. Previous studies on adaptation were primarily focused on single neuronal activity, however, it is also intriguing to investigate the adaptation process in population neuronal activities. In the present study, by using multi-electrode recording system, we simultaneously recorded spike discharges from a group of dimming detectors (OFF-sustained type ganglion cells) in bullfrog retina. The changes in receptive field properties and synchronization strength during contrast adaptation were analyzed. It was found that, when perfused using normal Ringer's solution, single neuronal receptive field size was reduced during contrast adaptation, which was accompanied by weakening in synchronization strength between adjacent neurons' activities. When dopamine (1 µM) was applied, the adaptation-related receptive field area shrinkage and synchronization weakening were both eliminated. The activation of D1 receptor was involved in the adaptation-related modulation of synchronization and receptive field. Our results thus suggest that the size of single neuron's receptive field is positively related to the strength of its synchronized activity with its neighboring neurons, and the dopaminergic pathway is responsible for the modulation of receptive field property and synchronous activity of the ganglion cells during the adaptation process.

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