Simulated saccadic stimuli suppress ON-type direction-selective retinal ganglion cells via glycinergic inhibition

Benjamin Sivyer, Alexander Tomlinson, W. Rowland Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Two types of mammalian direction-selective ganglion cells (DSGCs),ONand ONOFF, operate over different speed ranges. The directional axes of the ON-DSGCs are thought to align with the axes of the vestibular system and provide sensitivity at rotational velocities that are too slow to activate the semicircular canals. ONOFF-DSGCs respond to faster image velocities. Using natural images that simulate the natural visual inputs to freely moving animals, we show that simulated visual saccades suppress responses in ON-DSGCs but not ONOFF-DSGCs recorded in retinas of domestic rabbits of either gender. Analysis of the synaptic inputs shows that this saccadic suppression results from glycinergic inputs that are specific to ON-DSGCs and are absent in ONOFF-DSGCs. When this glycinergic input is blocked, both cell types respond similarly to visual saccades and display essentially identical speed tuning. The results demonstrate that glycinergic circuits within the retina can produce saccadic suppression of retinal ganglion cell activity. The cell-type-specific targeting of the glycinergic circuits further supports the proposed physiological roles of ON-DSGCs in retinal-image stabilization and of ONOFF-DSGCs in detecting local object motion and signaling optical flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4312-4322
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 29 2019


  • Electrophysiology
  • Neural circuits
  • Retina
  • Visual processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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