Glial modulation of synaptic transmission in the retina

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Glial modulation of synaptic transmission and neuronal excitability in the mammalian retina is mediated by several mechanisms. Stimulation of glial cells evokes Ca2+ waves, which propagate through the network of retinal astrocytes and Müller cells and result in the modulation of the activity of neighboring ganglion cells. Light-evoked spiking is enhanced in some ganglion cells and depressed in others. A facilitation or depression of light-evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents is also seen in ganglion cells following glial stimulation. In addition, stimulation of glial cells evokes a sustained hyperpolarizing current in ganglion cells which is mediated by ATP release from Müller cells and activation of neuronal A1 adenosine receptors. Recent studies reveal that light-evoked activity in retinal neurons results in an increase in the frequency of Ca2+ transients in Müller cells. Thus, there is two-way communication between neurons and glial cells, suggesting that glia contribute to information processing in the retina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-274
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 15 2004


  • ATP
  • Astrocyte
  • Calcium wave
  • Depression
  • Enhancement
  • Glutamate
  • Müller cell
  • Neuron
  • Synapse


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