Somatostatin modulates voltage-gated K+ and Ca2+ currents in rod and cone photoreceptors of the salamander retina

Abram Akopian, Juliette Johnson, Robert Gabriel, Nicholas Brecha, Paul Witkovsky

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98 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the cellular localization in the salamander retina of one of the somatostatin [or somatotropin release-inhibiting factor (SRIF)] receptors, sst(2A), and studied the modulatory action of SRIF on voltage- gated K+ and Ca2+ currents in rod and cone photoreceptors. SRIF immunostaining was observed in widely spaced amacrine cells, whose perikarya are at the border of the inner nuclear layer and inner plexiform layer. sst(2A) immunostaining was seen in the inner segments and terminals of rod and cone photoreceptors. Additional sst(2A) immunoreactivity was expressed by presumed bipolar and amacrine cells. SRIF, at concentrations of 100-500 nM, enhanced a delayed outwardly rectifying K+-current (I(K)) in both rod and cone photoreceptors. SRIF action was blocked in cells pretreated with pertussis toxin (PTX) and was substantially reduced by intracellular GDPβS. Voltage-gated L-type Ca2+ currents in rods and cones were differently modulated by SRIF. SRIF reduced Ca2+ current in rods by 33% but increased it in cones by 40%, on average. Both effects were mediated via G-protein activation and blocked by PTX. Ca2+-imaging experiments supported these results by showing that 500 nM SRIF reduced a K+-induced increase in intracellular Ca2+ in rod photoreceptor terminals but increased it in those of cones. Our results suggest that SRIF may play a role in the regulation of glutamate transmitter release from photoreceptors via modulation of voltage- gated K+ and Ca2+ currents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)929-936
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2000


  • Ca channel
  • G-protein
  • K channel
  • Patch clamp
  • Retina
  • Somatostatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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