Effects of GABA Receptor Agonists on Cholinergic Amacrine Cells in the Rabbit Retina

  • Michael J. Neal


The release of ACh from the rabbit retina in vivo has been used to indicate the activity of cholinergic amacrine cells. The response of these cells to drugs acting at GABA receptors has been studied in order to obtain information on the role of GABA receptor subtypes in modulating the activity of cholinergic amacrine cells. Drugs that stimulate GABAA receptors inhibited the light-evoked release of ACh (flickering light, 3Hz). In contrast, stimulation of GABAB receptors by baclofen enhanced the light-evoked release of ACh. In separate experiments on isolated rat retinas, it was found that baclofen inhibited the potassium-evoked release of glycine, but not GABA, suggesting that baclofen might enhance the light-evoked release of ACh from the rabbit retina by inhibiting the release of glycine from glycinergic amacrine cells. This idea was supported by further experiments on the rabbit retina in which it was found that strychnine enhanced the light-evoked release of ACh in a similar manner to baclofen. These results suggest that baclofen enhances the light-evoked release of ACh by reducing inhibition which originates from a glycinergic feedback loop onto the cholinergic amacrine cell. The effect of baclofen disappeared at high flicker frequency (10Hz), perhaps because the inhibitory presynaptic GABAB receptors were fully occupied by endogenously released GABA. If this explanation is correct, then GABA co-released with ACh might provide a mechanism of facilitating ACh release at higher rates of cell firing


Versus Versus Versus Cholinergic Neurone Amacrine Cell GABAB Receptor Acetylcholine Release 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Neal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologySt Thomas’ Hospital (UMDS)LondonUK

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