We have evaluated the spatial distribution of low-voltage-activated calcium currents in ganglion cells of the tiger salamander retina. Whole-cell recordings were obtained from ganglion cells in a retinal slice preparation and from acutely dissociated ganglion cells that were identified through retrograde dye injection. In single dissociated cells, we estimated the magnitude (pA) and current density (pA/pF) of LVA currents in ganglion cells, both with and without dendritic processes. Ganglion cells that retained a portion of their dendritic arbor had larger LVA calcium currents and higher LVA current densities than those which lacked processes. When cell capacitance measurements were used to derive the surface area of the soma and dendritic processes, we concluded that a higher LVA current density was present in the dendrites; we estimate that, on average, the current density in the dendrites is approximately five times that of the soma. The presence of a significant density of LVA calcium channels in the dendrites of ganglion cells suggests that they could be involved in a number of cellular functions, including dendritic integration of synaptic currents, impulse generation, and homeostatic functions related to changes in the intradendritic calcium concentration.
- Ambystoma tigrinum
- Calcium current