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Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 1997 Jun;75(3):232-5.

The role of nitric oxide in hyperaemic response to flicker in the retina and optic nerve in cats.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Medical Biophysics, University of Uppsala, Sweden.



To elucidate the role of nitric oxide (NO) in the eye and the flicker-induced vascular response.


The blood flow in the retina and different parts of the optic nerve was compared in cats treated with the NO-synthase blocker, N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester and in control animals. In both groups, one of the eyes was dark-adapted, the other was subjected to 8 Hz flickering light. The regional blood flow was measured with the microsphere method.


In control animals, flickering light increased blood flow in the retina and optic nerve head by 39% and 256%, respectively. Pretreatment with N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester prevented this increase in retinal blood flow and markedly reduced the blood flow in the optic nerve heads.


NO release may mediate much of the vasodilating effect of flicker in cats, and play a role in maintaining normal vascular tone in the optic nerve head.

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