Effects of GABA receptor antagonists on thresholds of P23H rat retinal ganglion cells to electrical stimulation of the retina

The Center for Innovative Visual Rehabilitation, VA Boston Healthcare System, Mail Stop 151E, 150 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130, USA.
Journal of Neural Engineering (Impact Factor: 3.42). 06/2011; 8(3):035002. DOI: 10.1088/1741-2560/8/3/035002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT An electronic retinal prosthesis may provide useful vision for patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa (RP). In animal models of RP, the amount of current needed to activate retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) is higher than in normal, healthy retinas. In this study, we sought to reduce the stimulation thresholds of RGCs in a degenerate rat model (P23H-line 1) by blocking GABA receptor mediated inhibition in the retina. We examined the effects of TPMPA, a GABA(C) receptor antagonist, and SR95531, a GABA(A) receptor antagonist, on the electrically evoked responses of RGCs to biphasic current pulses delivered to the subretinal surface through a 400 µm diameter electrode. Both TPMPA and SR95531 reduced the stimulation thresholds of ON-center RGCs on average by 15% and 20% respectively. Co-application of the two GABA receptor antagonists had the greatest effect, on average reducing stimulation thresholds by 32%. In addition, co-application of the two GABA receptor antagonists increased the magnitude of the electrically evoked responses on average three-fold. Neither TPMPA nor SR95531, applied alone or in combination, had consistent effects on the stimulation thresholds of OFF-center RGCs. We suggest that the effects of the GABA receptor antagonists on ON-center RGCs may be attributable to blockage of GABA receptors on the axon terminals of ON bipolar cells.

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