Antisera directed against hyperpolarization-activated mixed-cation ("Ih") and K+ ("Kir") channels bind to some somata in the ganglion cell layer of rat and rabbit retina. Additionally, the termination of hyperpolarizing current injections can trigger spikes in some cat retinal ganglion cells, suggesting a rebound depolarization arising from activation of Ih. However, patch-clamp studies showed that rat ganglion cells lack inward rectification or present an inwardly rectifying K+ current. We therefore tested whether hyperpolarization activates Ih in dissociated, adult rat retinal ganglion cell somata. We report here that, although we found no inward rectification in some cells, and a Kir-like current in a few cells, hyperpolarization activated Ih in roughly 75% of the cells we recorded from in voltage clamp. We show that this current is blocked by Cs + or ZD7288 and only slightly reduced by Ba2+, that the current amplitude and reversal potential are sensitive to extracellular Na + and K+, and that we found no evidence of Kir in cells presenting Ih. In current clamp, injecting hyperpolarizing current induced a slowly relaxing membrane hyperpolarization that rebounded to a few action potentials when the hyperpolarizing current was stopped; both the membrane potential relaxation and rebound spikes were blocked by ZD7288. These results provide the first measurement of Ih in mammalian retinal ganglion cells and indicate that the ion channels of rat retinal ganglion cells may vary in ways not expected from previous voltage and current recordings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas