Differential Effects of Light and Dark Adaptations on Function and Metabolism of Retinal Taurine and γ-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)

  • Kinya Kuriyama
  • Shuji Ida
  • Chihiro Nishimura
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 139)


It has been well established that taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) is present at a high level in the vertebrate retina, especially in photoreceptor cells (9). In addition, evidence suggesting possible roles of taurine as a neuromodulator or neurotransmitter in the retina, such as the presence of Na+-dependent high affinity uptake of taurine (10), release of taurine by light stimulation (20), and suppressive effect of exogenously applied taurine on the b wave of the electroretinogram (ERG) (1), has been reported. On the other hand, it has been found that the highest levels of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and 1-glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) activity are present in the inner plexiform layer of frog retina (7). Moreover, various pieces of evidence indicating GABA may act as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in vertebrate retina, such as specific Na+- and energy-dependent high affinity uptake (5), inhibition of the b wave of the ERG (22), and binding of (3H)-muscimol (a GABA agonist) to GABA receptor (21) have been presented.


Dark Adaptation Gaba Content Vertebrate Retina Taurine Content High Affinity Uptake 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bonaventure, N., Wioland, N., and Mandel, P., 1974, Antagonists of the putative inhibitory transmitter effects of taurine and GABA in the retina, Brain Res., 80: 281–289.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Di Giorgio, R.M., Tucci, G., and Macaione, S., 1975, Cysteine oxidase activity in rat retina during development, Life Sci., 16: 429–436.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dowling, J.E., 1967, The site of visual adaptation, Science, 155: 273–279.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Enna, S.J., and Snyder, S.H., 1976, Gamma-aminobutyric acid ( GABA) receptor binding in mammalian retina, Brain Res., 115: 174–179.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Goodchild, M., and Neal, M.J., 1970, Uptake of 3H-gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)by rat retina, J. Physiol., 210: 182–183 p.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Graham, L.T., Jr., Baxter, C.F., and Lolley, R.N., 1970, In vivo influence of light or darkness on the GABA system in the retina of the frog ( Rana pipiens ), Brain Res., 20: 379–388.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Graham, L.T., Jr., 1972, Intraretinal distribution of GABA content and GAD activity, Brain Res., 36: 476–479.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hayes, K.C., Carey, R.E., and Schmidt, S.Y., 1975, Retinal degeneration associated with taurine deficiency in the cat, Science, 188: 949–951.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kennedy, A.J., and Voaden, M.J., 1974, Free amino acids in the photoreceptor cells of the frog retina, J. Neurochem., 23: 1093–1095.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kennedy, A.J., and Voaden, M.J., 1976, Studies on the uptake and release of radioactive taurine by the frog retina, J. Neurochem., 27: 131–137.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kimura, H., and Kuriyama, K., 1975, A new microassay method for L-glutamic acid decarboxylase ( GAD) activity, Jap. J. Pharmacol., 25: 189–195.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kuriyama, K., (1980), Taurine as a neuromodulator, Federation Proc., 39: 2680–2684.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lake, N., Marshall, J., and Voaden, M.J., 1977, The entry of taurine into the neural retina and pigment epithelium of the frog, Brain Res., 128: 497–503.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lam, D.M.K., 1972, The biosynthesis and content of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the goldfish retina, J. Cell. Biol., 54: 225–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    López-Colomé, A.M., and Pasantes-Morales, H., 1980, Taurine interactions with chick retinal membranes, J. Neurochem., 34: 1047–1052.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lowry, 0.H., Rosebrough, N.J., Farr, A.L., and Randall, R.J., 1951, Protein measurement with the Folin phenol reagent, J. Biol. Chem., 193: 265–275.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mathur, R.L., Klethi, J., Ledig, M., and Mandel, P., 1976, Cysteine sulfinate decarboxylase in the visual pathway of adult chicken, Life Sci., 18: 75–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Orr, H.T., Cohen, A.I., and Lowry, 0.H., 1976, The distribution of taurine in the vertebrate retina, J. Neurochem., 26: 609–611.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pasantes-Morales, H., Klethi, J., Ledig, M., and Mandel, P., 1973, Influence of light and dark on the free amino acid pattern of the developing chick retina, Brain Res., 57: 59–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Pasantes-Morales, H., Urban, P.F., Klethi, J., and Mandel, P., 1973, Light stimulated release of (35S) taurine from chicken retina, Brain Res., 51: 375–378.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Redburn, D.A., Kyles, C.B., and Ferkany, J., 1979, Subcellular distribution of GABA receptors in bovine retina, Exp. Eye Res., 28: 525–532.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Scholes, N.W., and Roberts, E., 1964, Pharmacological studies of the optic system of the chick: Effect of y-aminobutyric acid and pentobarbital, Biochem. Pharmacol., 13: 1319–1329.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Starr, M.S., 1973, Effect of dark adaptation on the GABA system in retina, Brain Res., 59: 331–338.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Tokunaga, H., Yoneda, Y., and Kuriyama, K., 1979, Protective actions of taurine against streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemia, Biochem. Pharmacol., 28: 2807–2811.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Yoneda, Y., 1978, Studies on functional roles of y-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and taurine in the spinal cord and thalamus. I. Microdistributions of GABA, Taurine and their metabolically related enzymes, J. Kyoto Pref. Univ. Med., 87: 675–694. (Japanese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kinya Kuriyama
    • 1
  • Shuji Ida
    • 1
  • Chihiro Nishimura
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyKyoto Prefectural University of MedicineKamikyo-Ku, Kyoto 602Japan

Personalised recommendations