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To evaluate and describe the cone function in the normal and lesioned rabbit retina using the multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG). Twelve animals underwent a two-port vitrectomy with subsequent retinectomy in one eye. The area of removed retina was located in the nasal part of the visual streak, and measured approximately 1-2 disc diameters. Both eyes were investigated with mfERG preoperatively and up to 13 weeks postoperatively. A Burian-Allen bipolar contact lens with built-in infrared emitters was used to visualize the retina during the recordings. The averages of the trace array amplitudes in the lower nasal and temporal quadrants were calculated and statistically analyzed at the different time intervals. All eyes were examined histologically with hematoxylin and eosin staining. The retina could be visualized during the mfERG examinations. Postoperatively, up to 3 weeks, amplitudes were reduced over the entire stimulated area in retinectomized eyes (2.20 microV+/-1.22 SD) as compared with preoperative examinations (3.40 microV+/-1.00 SD). After 7 weeks the amplitudes in the quadrant including the retinectomized area remained low (2.62 microV+/-1.02 SD), whereas they were higher than at earlier postoperative examinations in the lower unlesioned temporal quadrant (3.56 microV+/-0.71 SD) with a statistical difference between the quadrants. At 13 weeks this was even more pronounced. In unoperated eyes, the area corresponding to the visual streak displayed significantly higher amplitudes than the area superior to the myelinated streak, corresponding well to the cone distribution. High amplitudes were also detected in the area of the myelinated nerve fibers and optic nerve head, most likely as a result of scattering light. In histological sections, the retinectomized area had a diameter of 1-3 mm. This study shows that the mfERG technique can be used as a tool in experimental retinal research involving the rabbit eye, where retinal lesions down to at least 1 mm can be detected. One difficulty involves scattering light emanating from the relatively large optic disc and the myelinated nerve fibers, which makes the use of a mfERG system, in which the fundus can be visualized during stimulation, mandatory.


Karin W Gjörloff, Sten Andréasson, Fredrik Ghosh. mfERG in normal and lesioned rabbit retina. Graefe's archive for clinical and experimental ophthalmology = Albrecht von Graefes Archiv für klinische und experimentelle Ophthalmologie. 2006 Jan;244(1):83-9

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PMID: 15983815

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