Role of hyperpolarization-activated currents for the intrinsic dynamics of isolated retinal neurons

Bu Qing Mao, Peter R. MacLeish, Jonathan D. Victor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The intrinsic dynamics of bipolar cells and rod photoreceptors isolated from tiger salamanders were studied by a patch-clamp technique combined with estimation of effective impulse responses across a range of mean membrane voltages. An increase in external K+ reduces the gain and speeds the response in bipolar cells near and below resting potential. High external K+ enhances the inward rectification of membrane potential, an effect mediated by a fast, hyperpolarization-activated, inwardly rectifying potassium current (KIR). External Cs+ suppresses the inward-rectifying effect of external K+. The reversal potential of the current, estimated by a novel method from a family of impulse responses below resting potential, indicates a channel that is permeable predominantly to K+. Its permeability to Na+, estimated from Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz voltage equation, was negligible. Whereas the activation of the delayed-rectifier K+ current causes bandpass behavior (i.e., undershoots in the impulse responses) in bipolar cells, activation of the KIR current does not. In contrast, a slow hyperpolarization-activated current (Ih) in rod photoreceptors leads to pronounced, slow undershoots near resting potential. Differences in the kinetics and ion selectivity of hyperpolarization-activated currents in bipolar cells (KIR) and in rod photoreceptors (Ih) confer different dynamical behavior onto the two types of neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2756-2767
Number of pages12
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


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