Receptor potentials were recorded extracellularly from the all-rod retina of the skate after the application of sodium aspartate. This agent suppresses the responses of proximal elements, but leaves relatively unaffected the electrical activity of the photoreceptors (a-wave) and pigment epithelium (c-wave). Since the latter develops too slowly to interfere with the receptor response, it was possible to isolate receptor potentials and to compare their behavior in light and dark adaptation with earlier observations on the S-potential, b-wave, and ganglion cell discharge. The results show that the photoreceptors display the full complement of adaptational changes exhibited by cells proximal to the receptors. Thus, it appears that visual adaptation in the skate is governed primarily by the photoreceptors themselves. Of particular interest was the recovery of sensitivity in the presence of background fields that initially saturate the receptor potential. Analysis of this recovery phase indicates that a gain-control mechanism operates within the receptors, at a distal stage of the visual process.

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