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The role of nitric oxide (NO) as a novel neurochemical mechanism controlling light adaptation of the outer retina is discussed by considering mainly published results. The emphasis is on the retinae of fishes and amphibia, but some data from the mammalian (rabbit) retinae have also been included for completeness. In the fish retina, application of NO donors in the dark caused light-adaptive photomechanical movements of cones. The normal effect of light adaptation in inducing cone contractions was suppressed by pretreatment of retinae with an NO scavenger. NO donors modulated horizontal cell activity by uncoupling the cells' lateral gap junctional interconnections and enhancing negative feedback to cones, again consistent with a light-adaptive role of NO. Direct evidence for light adaptation-induced release of NO has been obtained in fish (carp) and rabbit retinae. The results strongly suggest that control of retinal light adaptation is, under multiple neurochemical control, with NO and dopamine having an interactive role.

Original publication




Journal article


Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci

Publication Date





1199 - 1203


Adaptation, Physiological, Amphibians, Animals, Electrophysiology, Fishes, Light, Mammals, Nitric Oxide, Photoreceptor Cells, Retina