Potassium activity in photoreceptors, glial cells and extracellular space in the drone retina: changes during photostimulation

Coles, J. A. and Tsacopoulos, M. (1979) Potassium activity in photoreceptors, glial cells and extracellular space in the drone retina: changes during photostimulation. Journal of Physiology, 290(2), pp. 525-549.

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Abstract

1. A double-barrelled potassium-sensitive micro-electrode was developed that was fine enough to record intracellular electrical potentials and potassium activities (aK) in the drone retina.

2. aK was measured in the photoreceptor cells, in the pigment (glial) cells, and in the extracellular space, in the superfused, cut, retina. The effect of photostimulation was studied: 20 msec light flashes, intense enough to evoke receptor potentials of maximum amplitude were presented, 1/sec, in a train lasting about 2 min.

3. In photoreceptors with membrane potentials greater than or equal to 50 mV aK in the dark was 79 mM, S.D. = 27 mM, n = 11. During photostimulation aK fell by 21.5 +/- 9.5 mM with a half-time of 30 +/- 22 sec. (A tentative conversion from activities to free concentrations can be made by taking the activity coefficient as 0.70 its value in the Ringer solution).

4. In pigment cells with membrane potentials greater than or equal to 50 mV, aK in the dark was 52 mM, S.D. = 13 mM, n = 11. During photostimulation aK increased by 14 +/- 5 mM.

5. In the extracellular space aK increased during photostimulation with a mean half-time of less than 1.3 sec to a maximum (mean value 14 mM, S.D. = 8.4 mM, n = 22), and then fell to a plateau.

6. It is estimated from the anatomy that the photoreceptors occupy approximately 38% of the total volume of the retina, the pigment cells 57%, and extracellular space 5%. Hence, it seems possible that during photostimulation nearly all the net loss of potassium from the photoreceptors is temporarily stored in the pigment cells.

7. Recordings were made in the extracellular space of the intact animal by passing the electrode through a hole in the cornea. The mean aK in the dark was 7.7 mM, S.E. = 0.4 mM, n = 22. In the superfused retina, aK in the dark was 6.3 mM, S.E. = 0.7 mM, n = 22, even though aK in the Ringer solution was 2.2 mM. Increasing the aK of the Ringer solution to 7.0 mM had no apparent effect on aK in the extracellular space at depths greater than 20 micron.

8. In the intact animal the amplitude and time course of the change in extracellular aK evoked by the standard pattern of photostimulation were within the range observed in the superfused preparation.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Coles, Dr Jonathan
Authors: Coles, J. A., and Tsacopoulos, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Journal of Physiology
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0022-3751
ISSN (Online):1469-7793

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