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    Flickering light increases metabolic demand in the inner retina. Flicker may exacerbate defective mitochondrial function in glaucoma, which will be reflected in the pattern electroretinogram (PERG), a sensitive test of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) function. We tested whether flicker altered the PERG of DBA/2J (D2) glaucomatous mice and whether vitamin B3-rich diet contributed to the flicker effect. D2 mice fed with either standard chow (control, n = 10) or chow/water enriched with nicotinamide (NAM, 2000 mg/kg per day) (treated, n = 10) were monitored from 3 to 12 months. The PERG was recorded with superimposed flicker (F-PERG) at either 101 Hz (baseline) or 11 Hz (test), and baseline-test amplitude difference (adaptation) evaluated. At endpoint, flat-mounted retinas were immunostained (RBPMS and mito-tracker). F-PERG adaptation was 41% in 3-month-old D2 and decreased with age more in control D2 than in NAM-fed D2 (GEE, p < 0.01). At the endpoint, F-PERG adaptation was 0% in control D2 and 17.5% in NAM-fed D2, together with higher RGC density (2.4×), larger RGC soma size (2×), and greater intensity of mitochondrial staining (3.75×). F-PERG adaptation may provide a non-invasive tool to assess RGC autoregulation in response to increased metabolic demand and test the effect of dietary/pharmacological treatments on optic nerve disorders.


    Tsung-Han Chou, Giovanni Luca Romano, Rosario Amato, Vittorio Porciatti. Nicotinamide-Rich Diet in DBA/2J Mice Preserves Retinal Ganglion Cell Metabolic Function as Assessed by PERG Adaptation to Flicker. Nutrients. 2020 Jun 27;12(7)

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    PMID: 32605122

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