Significant amounts of endogenous serotonin have been detected in the retina of many nonmammalian vertebrates. In the pigeon retina, serotonin-like immunoreactivity has been localized within a subpopulation of bipolar and amacrine cells, and serotonin-containing terminals have been found to be segregated in different laminae of the inner plexiform layer. In the current experiments 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine was injected intravitreally in the pigeon eye in order to examine the effect of serotonin depletion on the functional activity of the retina. The physiological modifications induced by the serotonin depletion were examined by recording electroretinographic responses to light flashes of different intensity under conditions of light and dark adaptation. Our results show that 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine treatment selectively increases b-wave amplitude and modifies the function relating b-wave amplitude to Log flash intensity without affecting the peak latency and the amplitude of oscillatory potentials. These results can be interpreted in terms of a possible inhibitory role of serotonin on b-wave generators.
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