Glutamate receptors and circuits in the vertebrate retina

Wallace B Thoreson, Paul Witkovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

209 Scopus citations


We survey the evidence for L-glutamate's role as the primary excitatory neurotransmitter of vertebrate retinas. The physiological and molecular properties of glutamate receptors in the retina are reviewed in relation to what has been learned from studies of glutamate function in other brain areas and in expression systems. We have focused on (a) the evidence for the presence of L-glutamate in retinal neurons, (b) the processes by which glutamate is released, (c) the presence and function of ionotropic receptors for L-glutamate in retinal neurons, (d) the presence and function of metabotropic receptors for L-glutamate in retinal neurons, and (e) the variety and distribution of glutamate transporters in the vertebrate retina. Modulatory pathways which influence glutamate release and the behavior of its receptors are described. Emphasis has been placed on the cellular mechanisms of glutamate-mediated neurotransmission in relation to the encoding of visual information by retinal circuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-810
Number of pages46
JournalProgress in Retinal and Eye Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems

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