Dopamine D1 receptor activation reduces local inner retinal inhibition to light-adapted levels

Reece E. Mazade, Michael D. Flood, Erika D. Eggers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


During adaptation from dim to bright environments, changes in retinal signaling are mediated, in part, by dopamine. Dopamine is released with light and can modulate retinal receptive fields, neuronal coupling, inhibitory receptors, and rod pathway inhibition. However, it is unclear how dopamine affects inner retinal inhibition to cone bipolar cells, which relay visual information from photoreceptors to ganglion cells and are important signal processing sites. We tested the hypothesis that dopamine (D)1 receptor activation is sufficient to elicit light-adapted inhibitory changes. Local light-evoked inhibition and spontaneous activity were measured from OFF cone bipolar cells in dark-adapted mouse retinas while stimulating D1 receptors, which are located on bipolar, horizontal, and inhibitory amacrine cells. The D1 agonist SKF38393 reduced local inhibitory light-evoked response magnitude and increased response transience, which mimicked changes measured with light adaptation. D1-mediated reductions in local inhibition were more pronounced for glycinergic than GABAergic inputs, comparable with light adaptation. The effects of D1 receptors on light-evoked input were similar to the effects on spontaneous input. D1 receptor activation primarily decreased glycinergic spontaneous current frequency, similar to light adaptation, suggesting mainly a presynaptic amacrine cell site of action. These results expand the role of dopamine to include signal modulation of cone bipolar cell local inhibition. In this role, D1 receptor activation, acting primarily through glycinergic amacrine cells, may be an important mechanism for the light-adapted reduction in OFF bipolar cell inhibition since the actions are similar and dopamine is released during light adaptation. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Retinal adaptation to different luminance conditions requires the adjustment of local circuits for accurate signaling of visual scenes. Understanding mechanisms behind luminance adaptation at different retinal levels is important for understanding how the retina functions in a dynamic environment. In the mouse, we show that dopamine pathways reduce inner retinal inhibition similar to increased background luminance, suggesting the two are linked and highlighting a possible mechanism for light adaptation at an early retinal processing center.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1232-1243
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Amacrine cell
  • Bipolar cell
  • Glycine
  • Luminance
  • γ-aminobutyric acid (gaba)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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