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J Physiol. 1999 Apr 15;516 ( Pt 2):593-609.

Sensitivity and kinetics of mouse rod flash responses determined in vivo from paired-flash electroretinograms.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


1. Electroretinograms (ERGs) were recorded corneally from C57BL/6J mice using a paired-flash procedure in which a brief test flash at time zero was followed at time tprobe by a bright probe flash of fixed strength, and in which the probe response amplitude was determined at time t = tprobe + 6 ms. Probe responses obtained in a series of paired-flash trials were analysed to derive A(t), a family of amplitudes that putatively represents the massed response of the rod photoreceptors to the test flash. A central aim was to obtain a mathematical description of the normalized derived response A(t)/Amo as a function of Itest, the test flash strength. 2. With fixed tprobe (80 <= tprobe <= 1200 ms), A(t)/Amo was described by the saturating exponential function [1 - exp(-ktItest)], where kt is a time-dependent sensitivity parameter. For t = 86 ms, a time near the peak of A(t), k86 was 7.0 +/- 1.2 (scotopic cd s m-2)-1 (mean +/- s. d.; n = 4). 3. A(t)/Amo data were analysed in relation to the equation below, a time-generalized form of the above exponential function in which (k86Itest) is replaced by the product [k86Itestu(t)], and where u(t) is independent of the test flash strength. The function u(t) was modelled as the product of a scaling factor gamma, an activation term 1 - exp[-alpha(t - td)2]), and a decay term exp(-t/tauomega): A(t)/Amo = 1 - exp[-k86Itestu(t)]; u(t) = gamma(1 - exp[-alpha(t - td)2](exp(-t/tauomega) where td is a brief delay, tauomega is an exponential time constant, and alpha characterizes the acceleration of the activation term. For Itest up to approximately 2.57 scotopic cd s m-2, the overall time course of A(t) was well described by the above equation with gamma = 2.21, td = 3.1 ms, tauomega = 132 ms and alpha = 2.32 x 10-4 ms-2. An approximate halving of alpha improved the fit of the above equation to ERG a-wave and A(t)/Amo data obtained at t about 0-20 ms. 4. Kinetic and sensitivity properties of A(t) suggest that it approximates the in vivo massed photocurrent response of the rods to a test flash, and imply that u(t) in the above equation is the approximate kinetic description of a unit, i.e. single photon, response.

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