Synaptic Mechanisms Underlying Direction Selectivity in Rabbit Retinal Ganglion Cells

  • W. Rowland Taylor
  • David I. Vaney
Conference paper
Part of the Keio University International Symposia for Life Sciences and Medicine book series (KEIO, volume 11)


In the vertebrate visual system, direction-selective signals are first encountered within the direction-selective ganglion cells (DSGCs) in the retina. The On-Off DSGCs have been most intensively studied, and a number of models have been advanced to account for the physiological properties of these cells. In order to account for the directional asymmetry of the physiological responses, all models incorporate some type of spatial asymmetry in the arrangement of the synaptic circuitry. However, there is no general agreement as to the synaptic locus of this critical synaptic asymmetry. Some have suggested that direction selectivity is generated by synaptic interactions that occur prior to the DSGC, and that the excitatory or inhibitory inputs to the cell are already direction selective. Others have suggested that the inputs to the DSGCs are directionally isotropic, and that there is an asymmetry in the interaction of the excitation and inhibition within the dendrites of the DSGCs.

Key words

Direction selectivity Ganglion cells Synaptic conductance 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Rowland Taylor
    • 1
  • David I. Vaney
    • 2
  1. 1.Neurological Sciences InstituteOregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Vision, Touch and Hearing Research Centre, School of Biomedical ScienceUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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