Reductions in calcium signaling limit inhibition to diabetic retinal rod bipolar cells

Johnnie M. Moore-Dotson, Erika D. Eggers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. The balance of neuronal excitation and inhibition is important for proper retinal signaling. A previous report showed that diabetes selectively reduces light-evoked inhibition to the retinal dim light rod pathway, changing this balance. Here, changes in mechanisms of retinal inhibitory synaptic transmission after 6 weeks of diabetes are investigated. METHODS. Diabetes was induced in C57BL/6J mice by three intraperitoneal injections of streptozotocin (STZ, 75 mg/kg), and confirmed by blood glucose levels more than 200 mg/dL. After 6 weeks, whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings of electrically evoked inhibitory postsynaptic currents from rod bipolar cells and light-evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents from A17-amacrine cells were made in dark-adapted retinal slices. RESULTS. Diabetes shortened the timecourse of directly activated lateral GABAergic inhibitory amacrine cell inputs to rod bipolar cells. The timing of GABA release onto rod bipolar cells depends on a prolonged amacrine cell calcium signal that is reduced by slow calcium buffering. Therefore, the effects of calcium buffering with EGTA-acetoxymethyl ester (AM) on diabetic GABAergic signaling were tested. EGTA-AM reduced GABAergic signaling in diabetic retinas more strongly, suggesting that diabetic amacrine cells have reduced calcium signals. Additionally, the timing of release from reciprocal inhibitory inputs to diabetic rod bipolar cells was reduced, but the activation of the A17 amacrine cells responsible for this inhibition was not changed. CONCLUSIONS. These results suggest that reduced light-evoked inhibitory input to rod bipolar cells is due to reduced and shortened calcium signals in presynaptic GABAergic amacrine cells. A reduction in calcium signaling may be a common mechanism limiting inhibition in the retina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4063-4073
Number of pages11
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Diabetes
  • GABA
  • Neurons
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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