We used the whole-cell patch-clamp recording technique on surgically excised human retina to examine whether human rod photoreceptors express hyperpolarization-activated cationic currents (Ih) and to analyze the effects of Ih on rod's voltage responses. Hyperpolarizing voltage steps from a holding potential of -60 mV evoked a slow inward-rectifying current in both rods in retinal slices and isolated rods. The slow inward-rectifying currents induced by hyperpolarization were markedly reduced by 3 mM Cs+ (a blocker of Ih) in the bath, but not by 3 mM Ba2+ (an anomalous rectifier K+ current blocker) or 1 mM SITS (a Cl- current blocker). A concentration-response curve for block by Cs+ of the inward currents could be fitted by the Hill equation with a half-blocking concentration (IC50) of 41 μM and a Hill coefficient of 0.91. The time course of the inward current activation was well described at all recorded voltages by the sum of two exponentials. Under current-clamp conditions, injection of steps of current, either hyperpolarizing or depolarizing, elicited an initial rapid voltage change that was followed by a gradual decay in the voltage response. The decay in the voltage responses was eliminated by bath application of 3 mM Cs+. The voltage dependence, pharmacology, and kinetics of the slow inward-rectifying currents described above suggest that human rods express Ih. We suggest that Ih becomes activated in the course of large hyperpolarizations generated by bright-light illumination and may modify the waveform of the photovoltage in human rods.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology