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Retrograde endocannabinoid inhibition of goldfish retinal cones is mediated by 2-arachidonoyl glycerol



A functional role for retinal endocannabinoids has not been determined. We characterized retrograde suppression of membrane currents of goldfish cones in a retinal slice. Whole-cell recordings were obtained from cone inner segments under voltage clamp. IK(V) was elicited by a depolarizing pulse to +54 mV from a holding potential of −70 mV. A fifty-millisecond puff of saline with 70 mM KCl or Group I mGluR agonist DHPG was applied through a pipette directly at a mixed rod/cone (Mb) bipolar cell body. The amplitude of IK(V) decreased 25% compared to the pre-puff control. Retrograde suppression of IK(V) was blocked by CB1 receptor antagonist, SR141716A. The FAAH inhibitor URB597 had no effect on the suppression of IK(V), whereas nimesulide, a COX-2 inhibitor, prolonged the effects of the K+ puff 10-fold. Orlistat, a blocker of 2-AG synthesis, blocked the effect of the K+ puff. Group I mGluR activation of Gq/11 was demonstrated in that a puff with DHPG decreased IK(V) of cones by 32%, an effect blocked by SR141716A. The effect of DHPG was not blocked by the mGluR5 antagonist MPEP, indicating involvement of mGluR1. The suppressive effect of the K+ puff vanished in a Ca2+-free, 2 mM Co2+ saline. TMB-8 or ryanodine, blocked the effect of DHPG, but not that of the K+ puff, showing that calcium influx or release from intracellular stores could mediate retrograde release. We suggest that retrograde suppression of cone IK(V) is mediated by Ca2+-dependent release of 2-AG from Mb bipolar cell dendrites by separate mechanisms: (1) voltage-dependent, mimicked by the K+ puff, that may be activated by the depolarizing ON response to light; (2) voltage-independent, occurring under ambient illumination, mediated by tonic mGluR1 activation. The negative feedback of this latter mechanism could regulate tonic glutamate release from cones within narrow limits, regardless of ambient illumination.


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Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Stephen Yazulla, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5230. E-mail:


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Retrograde endocannabinoid inhibition of goldfish retinal cones is mediated by 2-arachidonoyl glycerol



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