Expression patterns of voltage-gated ion channels determine the spatio-temporal dynamics of ion currents that supply excitable neurons in developing tissue with proper electrophysiological properties. The purpose of the study was to identify fast cationic inward currents in mouse retinal horizontal cells (HCs) and describe their biophysical properties at different developmental stages. We also aimed to reveal their physiological role in shaping light responses (LRs) in adult HCs. HCs were recorded in horizontal slices of wild-type mouse retina at postnatal stages ranging from p8 through p60. Voltage-dependent inward currents were isolated with appropriate voltage protocols and blockers specific for sodium and T-type calcium channels. LRs were evoked with full-field flashes (130 μW/cm2). Transient and steady inward currents were identified at all developmental stages. Transient currents were mediated by T-type calcium and TTX-sensitive sodium channels, whereas steady currents were blocked by cadmium, indicating the presence of high voltage-activated calcium channels. Activation and steady-state inactivation kinetics of T-type calcium channels revealed a contribution to the resting membrane potential during postnatal development. Additionally, both sodium and T-type calcium channels had an impact on HC LRs at light offset in adult animals. Our results showed that the voltage-dependent inward currents of postnatally developing mouse HCs consist of T-type calcium, TTX-sensitive sodium, and high voltage-activated calcium channels, and that transient ionic currents contributed to light-evoked responses of adult HCs, suggesting a role in HC information processing.
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