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Chapter 50: The Eye: II.

Receptor and
Neural Function of the Retina
Guyton and Hall, Textbook of Medical Physiology, 12
th
edition
Anatomy and Physiology of the Retina
Layers of the Retina-functional components
arranged in layers from the outside to the inside

a. Pigmented layer
b. Layer of rods and cones
c. Outer nuclear layer containing the cell bodies of the
rods and cones
d. Outer plexiform layer
e. Inner nuclear layer
f. Inner plexiform layer
g. Ganglionic layer
h. Layer of optic nerve fibers
i. Inner limiting membrane
Anatomy and Physiology of the Retina
Layers of the Retina
Fig. 50.1 Layers of the retina

Anatomy and Physiology of the Retina
Fovea- minute area in the center of the retina
(1 sq mm) capable of acute vision; contains
only cones

Rods and Cones- the major functional segments
of either a rod or cone are:

a. The outer segment
b. The inner segment
c. The nucleus
d. The synaptic body

Anatomy and Physiology of the Retina

Fig. 50.3 Schematic drawing of the functional parts
of the rods and cones
Anatomy and Physiology of the Retina

Rods and Cones

a. Light sensitive photochemicals are found in the
outer segment

b. In rods, it is rhodopsin

c. In cones, it is one of three color pigments which
function exactly like rhodopsin
Anatomy and Physiology of the Retina

Rods and Cones

d. In the outer segments of both rods and cones are
large numbers of discs (as many as 1000 per rod or
cone)

e. Pigments are conjugated proteins incorporated
into the membranes of the discs

f. Inner segment contains the usual organelles and
cytoplasm



Anatomy and Physiology of the Retina

Rods and Cones

g. Synaptic body connects with the neuronal cells,
the horizontal and bipolar cells

Pigment Layer of the Retina

a. Melanin prevents light refraction throughout
the eyeball

b. Stores large quantities of vitamin A



Anatomy and Physiology of the Retina

Pigment Layer of the Retina

c. Vitamin A is an important precursor of the
photosensitive chemicals of rods and cones




Anatomy and Physiology of the Retina

Fig. 50.4 Membranuous structures of t he outer segments of a
rod and cone
Anatomy and Physiology of the Retina

Blood Supply of the Retina

a. Central retinal artery enters with the optic nerve

b. Branches to supply the entire retinal surface

c. Outermost layer is adherent to the choroid which
is also a highly vascular area
Photochemistry of Vision

Rhodopsin-Retinal Visual Cycle

Fig. 50.5 Rhodopsin-retinal visual cycle in the rod
Photochemistry of Vision

Rhodopsin-Retinal Visual Cycle-The Decomposition
by Light Energy

a. When light energy is absorbed by rhodopsin, the
rhodopsin begins to decompose;

b. The cause of this is photoactivation of electrons in
the retinal portion of rhodopsin, which converts
cis into a trans form and cannot bind to the active
site on the protein.

c. This leads to unstable intermediates

Photochemistry of Vision

Reformation of Rhodopsin

a. First step is re-convert to cis form of retinal

b. Requires energy and is catalyzed by retinal isomerase

c. Once formed it binds to the protein and is stable



Photochemistry of Vision

Role of Vitamin A

a. Second pathway converts the trans-retinal to
trans-retinol (one form of vitamin A)

b. The trans-retinol is then converted to cis-retinal

c. Vitamin A is present in the pigment layer of the
retina and in the cytoplasm of rods

d. Excess retinal is converted to vitamin A



Photochemistry of Vision

Excitation of the Rod When Rhodopsin is Activated
by Light

a. The rod receptor potential is hyperpolarizing, not
depolarizing

b. When rhodopsin decomposes, it decreases the
rod membrane conductance for sodium ions
in the outer segment of the rod

c. This causes hyperpolarization of the entire rod
membrane
Photochemistry of Vision

Fig. 50.6 Movement of sodium and potassium ions through the inner
and outer segments of the rod
Photochemistry of Vision

Fig. 50.7 Phototransduction in the outer segment of the photoreceptor membrane
Photochemistry of Vision

Duration of the Receptor Potential and Log Relation
of the Receptor Potential to Light Intensity

a. Receptor potential occurs in 0.3 seconds and
lasts for about 1 second in the rods

b. In the cones it occurs four times as fast

c. Receptor potential is approx. proportional to the
logarithm of the light intensity which allows the
eye to discriminate light intensities through a range
many thousand times as great as would be otherwise
Photochemistry of Vision

Mechanism by Which Rhodopsin Decomposition
Decreases Membrane Sodium Conductance
(Excitation Cascade)

a. Photon activates an electron in the cis-retinal portion
of rhodopsin and leads to the formation of
metarhodopsin

b. Activated rhodopsin acts as an enzyme to activate
many molecules of transducin

c. Activated transducin activates many mcles of
phosphodiesterase
Photochemistry of Vision

Mechanism by Which Rhodopsin Decomposition
Decreases Membrane Sodium Conductance
(Excitation Cascade)

d. Activated phosphodiesterase hydrolyzes cGMP which
allows the sodium channels to close

e. Within a second, rhopdopsin kinase inactivates
metarhodopsin and reversion back to the normal
state with open sodium channels
Photochemistry of Vision

Photochemistry of Color Vision by the Cones

a. Only one of three types of color pigments is present
in each of the different cones

b. Color pigments are blue, green, and red sensitive
pigments


Photochemistry of Vision

Fig. 50.8 Light absorption by the pigment of the rods and the three color receptive cones
Photochemistry of Vision

Automatic Regulation of Retinal Sensitivity

a. Light Adaptation- in bright light the
concentrations of photosensitive chemicals are
reduced

b. Dark Adaptation- in darkness, the retinal and
opsins are converted back into the light
sensitive pigments
Photochemistry of Vision

Fig. 50.9 Dark adaptation, demonstrating he relation of cone adaptation to rod adaptation
Photochemistry of Vision

Other Mechanisms of Light and Dark Adaptation

a. Change in pupillary size

b. Neural adaptation
Color Vision

Tricolor Mechanism of Color Detection

a. Spectral sensitivities of the three types of cones

b. Interpretation of color in the Nervous System
Fig. 50.10 Demonstration of the degree of stimulation of the different color sensitive cones
by monochromatic lights of four colors: blue, green, yellow, and orange
Color Vision

Perception of White Light- equal stimulation of
the red, green, and blue cones gives the sensation
of seeing white

Color Blindness- when a single group of cones is
missing, the person is unable to distinguish
some colors from others

a. Red-green
b. Blue weakness
Neural Function of the Retina

Fig. 50.12 Neural organization of the retina; peripheral
area to the left, foveal area to the right
Neural Function of the Retina

Neural Circuitry of the Retina

a. Photoreceptors transmit signals to the
outer plexiform layer where they synapse
with bipolar cells and horizaontal cells

b. Horizontal cells which transmit signals
horizontally in the outer plexiform layer
from the rods and cones to bipolar cells

c. Bipolar cells which transmit signals
vertically to the inner plexiform layer,
where they synapse with ganglion cells and
amacrine cells
Neural Function of the Retina

Neural Circuitry of the Retina

d. Amacrine cells transmit signals either
directly from bipolar cells to ganglion cells
or horizontally from axons of the bipolar
cells to dendrites of the ganglion cells or
other amacrine cells

e. Ganglion cells which transmit output
signals from the retina through the optic
nerve into the brain

Neural Function of the Retina

Visual Pathway from the Cones to the Ganglion
Cells Functions Differently from the Rod
Pathway

a. (Fig. 50.12) Visual pathway from the fovea has
three neurons in a direct pathway: cones, bipolar
cells, and ganglion cells

b. For rod vision there are four neurons in the direct
pathway: rods, bipolar cells, amacrine cells, and
ganglion cells


Neural Function of the Retina

Neurotransmitters

a. Rods and cones release glutamate
b. Amacrine cells release: GABA, glucine, dopamine,
acetylcholine, and indolamine; all of which are
inhibitory

Transmission of Most Signals Occurs in the
Retinal Neurons by Electrtonic Conduction, Not
by Aps- direct flow of electric current in the
neuronal cytoplasm and nerve axons from the point of
excitation all the way to the output synapses
Neural Function of the Retina

Lateral Inhibition- enhances visual contrast and is a
function of the horizontal cells



Fig. 50.13 Excitation and inhibition of a retinal area caused by
a beam of light
Neural Function of the Retina

Excitation and Inhibition- two sets of bipolar
cells provide opposing and inhibitory
signals in the visual pathway

a. Depolarizing bipolar cells

b. Hyperpolarizing bipolar cells



Neural Function of the Retina

Amacrine Cells and Their Functions- 30 types
identified and the functions of 6 have been
characterized

a. Part of the direct pathway for rod vision
b. Responds strongly at the onset
c. Responds to changes in illumination
d. Movement of a spot across the retina




Neural Function of the Retina

Ganglion Cells and Optic Nerve Fibers

a. 100 million rods, 3 million cones, and 1.6 million
ganglion cells (60 rods and 2 cones converge on
an individual ganglion cell)
b. Central fovea has 35,000 cones and no rods
c. Greater sensitivity of the peripheral retina to weak
light
d. Rods are 30-300x more sensitive to light than
cones; 200 rods converge on a fiber in the
periphery




Neural Function of the Retina

Excitation of the Ganglion Cells

a. Spontaneous continuous APs in the ganglion cells
b. Transmission of changes in light intensity- the
off-on response


Fig. 50.14 Responses of a ganglion to light
Neural Function of the Retina

Transmission of Signals Depicting Contrasts in
the Visual Scene: The Role of Lateral Inhibition


Fig. 50.15
Neural Function of the Retina

Transmission of Color Signals by the Ganglion
Cells

a. Single ganglion may be stimulated by several
cones or by only a few
b. Some cells may be stimulated by one type but
inhibited by another
c. Importance of color contrast mechanisms is
that the retina itself begins to differentiate
colors