Journal of Computational Neuroscience

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 131–151 | Cite as

The temporal structure of transient ON/OFF ganglion cell responses and its relation to intra-retinal processing

  • Andreas Thiel
  • Martin Greschner
  • Josef Ammermüller


A subpopulation of transient ON/OFF ganglion cells in the turtle retina transmits changes in stimulus intensity as series of distinct spike events. The temporal structure of these event sequences depends systematically on the stimulus and thus carries information about the preceding intensity change. To study the spike events' intra-retinal origins, we performed extracellular ganglion cell recordings and simultaneous intracellular recordings from horizontal and amacrine cells. Based on these data, we developed a computational retina model, reproducing spike event patterns with realistic intensity dependence under various experimental conditions. The model's main features are negative feedback from sustained amacrine onto bipolar cells, and a two-step cascade of ganglion cell suppression via a slow and a fast transient amacrine cell. Pharmacologically blocking glycinergic transmission results in disappearance of the spike event sequence, an effect predicted by the model if a single connection, namely suppression of the fast by the slow transient amacrine cell, is weakened. We suggest that the slow transient amacrine cell is glycinergic, whereas the other types release GABA. Thus, the interplay of amacrine cell mediated inhibition is likely to induce distinct temporal structure in ganglion cell responses, forming the basis for a temporal code.


Retinal circuitry Temporal coding Amacrine cells Glycine Reciprocal feedback Concatenated inhibition Computational model 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Thiel
    • 1
  • Martin Greschner
    • 1
  • Josef Ammermüller
    • 1
  1. 1.NeurobiologyCarl von Ossietzky University OldenburgOldenburgGermany

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