Determination of Rod and Cone Influence to the Early and Late Dynamic of the Pupillary Light Response

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, Vol.57, Issue 6, 2501-2508., doi:10.1167/iovs.16-19150
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, online article

Purpose: This study aims to identify which aspects of the pupil light reflex are most influenced by rods and cones independently by analyzing pupil recordings from different mouse models of photoreceptor deficiency.

Methods: One-month-old wild type (WT), rodless (Rho−/−), coneless (Cnga3−/−), or photoreceptor less (Cnga3−/−; Rho−/− or Gnat1−/−) mice were subjected to brief red and blue light stimuli of increasing intensity. To describe the initial dynamic response to light, the maximal pupillary constriction amplitudes and the derivative curve of the first 3 seconds were determined. To estimate the postillumination phase, the constriction amplitude at 9.5 seconds after light termination was related to the maximal constriction amplitude.

Results: Rho−/− mice showed decreased constriction amplitude but more prolonged pupilloconstriction to all blue and red light stimuli compared to wild type mice. Cnga3−/− mice had constriction amplitudes similar to WT however following maximal constriction, the early and rapid dilation to low intensity blue light was decreased. To high intensity blue light, the Cnga3−/− mice demonstrated marked prolongation of the pupillary constriction. Cnga3−/−; Rho−/− mice had no pupil response to red light of low and medium intensity.

Conclusions: From specific gene defective mouse models which selectively voided the rod or cone function, we determined that mouse rod photoreceptors are highly contributing to the pupil response to blue light stimuli but also to low and medium red stimuli. We also observed that cone cells mainly drive the partial rapid dilation of the initial response to low blue light stimuli. Thus photoreceptor dysfunction can be derived from chromatic pupillometry in mouse models.

TU München
Helmholtz München
MPI of Neurobiology
MPI of Biochemistry