Investigative ophthalmology & visual science

Regional variations in local contributions to the primate photopic flash ERG: revealed using the slow-sequence mfERG.

PMID 12824276


To determine the variations with eccentricity of the primate photopic ERG and to separate contributions by different retinal cells by using intravitreal pharmacologic agents. Slow-sequence multifocal (mf)ERGs were obtained from 19 anesthetized adult rhesus monkeys and 5 normal human subjects. Recordings in monkeys were obtained before and after injections of tetrodotoxin citrate (TTX) to block sodium-dependent spiking; TTX+N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA)+picrotoxin (PTX) or gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to block all inner retinal activity; L-2 amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid (APB) to block the On-pathway; and cis-2, 3 piperidine dicarboxylic acid (PDA) to block the Off-pathway and the otherwise unblocked inner retinal activity. The stimulus consisted of 103 equal-sized hexagons within 17 degrees of the fovea; every 200 ms (15 frames), each hexagon had a 50% chance of remaining at 20 cd/m(2) or increasing briefly to 4.7 cd-s/m(2). Oscillatory potentials (OPs; 90-300 Hz) were extracted. The slow-sequence mfERG summed over the stimulated area looked similar to a standard photopic, full-field ERG, with a- and b-waves and OPs. OPs in the foveal and temporal retina were larger than in the nasal retina. This nasotemporal asymmetry was removed by TTX, and the OPs were eliminated, either by blocking inner retina activity or by blocking the On-pathway. The summed mfERG waveform, including OPs, was shaped mainly by the more peripheral retinal regions. The foveal b-wave peak occurred about 5 to 6 ms later than in the periphery, with the depolarizing peak of the On-pathway/bipolar contribution occurring earlier than the depolarizing peak of the Off contribution at all eccentricities. The a-wave was composed of a small photoreceptor contribution and postreceptoral portion originating from hyperpolarizing neurons. The variations in the primate photopic ERG with eccentricity are due to spike-driven oscillatory activity that is more prominent in central and temporal retina than in nasal retina and to the slower timing of all responses in the central, compared with the peripheral, retina. The full-field, photopic ERG most closely resembles the mfERG responses to stimulation of peripheral regions.