The impact of steroid activation of TRPM3 on spontaneous activity in the developing retina

Corey M. Webster, Joshua Tworig, Franklin Caval-Holme, Catherine W. Morgans, Marla B. Feller

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Scopus citations


    In the central nervous system, melastatin transient receptor potential (TRPM) channels function as receptors for the neurosteroid pregnenolone sulfate (PregS). The expression and function of TRPM3 has been explored in adult retina, although its role during development is unknown. We found, during the second postnatal week in mice, TRPM3 immunofluorescence labeled distinct subsets of inner retinal neurons, in-cluding a subset of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), similar to what has been reported in the adult. Labeling for a TRPM3 promoter-driven reporter confirmed expression of the TRPM3 gene in RGCs and revealed additional expression in nearly all Müller glial cells. Using two-photon calcium imaging, we show that PregS and the synthetic TRPM3 agonist CIM0216 (CIM) induced prolonged calcium transients in RGCs, which were mostly absent in TRPM3 knock-out (KO) mice. These prolonged calcium transients were not associated with strong membrane depolarizations but induced c-Fos expression. To elucidate the impact of PregS-activation of TRPM3 on retinal circuits we took two sets of physiological measurements. First, PregS induced a robust increase in the frequency but not amplitude of spontaneous postsynaptic currents (PSCs). This increase was absent in the TRPM3 KO mice. Second, PregS induced a small increase in cell participation and duration of retinal waves, but this modulation persisted in TRPM3 KO mice, indicating PregS was acting on wave generating circuits independent of TRPM3 channels. Though baseline frequency of retinal waves was slightly reduced in the TRPM3 KO mice, other properties of waves were indis-tinguishable from wildtype. Together, these results indicate that the presence of neurosteroids impact spontaneous synaptic activity and retinal waves during development via both TRPM3-dependent and independent mechanisms.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article numberENEURO.0175-19.2020
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


    • Müller glia
    • Retinal ganglion cell
    • Retinal wave
    • Two-photon calcium imaging

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neuroscience(all)


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