Intracellular recordings were obtained from rods in the Gekko gekko retina and the adaptation characteristics of their responses studied during light and dark adaptation. Steady background illumination induced graded and sustained hyperpolarizing potentials and compressed the incremental voltage range of the receptor. Steady backgrounds also shifted the receptor's voltage-intensity curve along the intensity axis, and bright backgrounds lowered the saturation potential of the receptor. Increment thresholds of single receptors followed Weber's law over a range of about 3.5 log units and then saturated. Most of the receptor sensitivity change in light derived from the shift of the voltage-intensity curve, only little from the voltage compression. Treatment of the eyecup with sodium aspartate at concentrations sufficient to eliminate the beta-wave of the electroretinogram (ERG) abolished initial transients in the receptor response, possibly indicating the removal of horizontal cell feedback. Aspartate treatment, however, did not significantly alter the adaptation characteristics of receptor responses, indicating that they derive from processes intrinsic to the receptors. Dark adaptation after a strongly adapting stimulus was similarly associated with temporary elevation of membrane potential, initial lowering of the saturation potential, and shift of the voltage-intensity curve. Under all conditions of adaptation studied, small amplitude responses were linear with light intensity. Further, there was no unique relation between sensitivity and membrane potential suggesting that receptor sensitivity is controlled at least in part by a step of visual transduction preceding the generation of membrane voltage change.

This content is only available as a PDF.