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Optom Vis Sci. 2004 Feb;81(2):137-47.

Inhibitory effects of apomorphine and atropine and their combination on myopia in chicks.

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School of Optometry, Queensland University of Technology, and Vision Touch and Hearing Research Centre, School of Biomedical Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.



The inhibitory effect of apomorphine on form-deprivation myopia implies a role for dopaminergic pathways in eye growth; however, the effect of apomorphine on lens-induced changes has not been studied. Our study filled this deficiency. After establishing that apomorphine inhibited lens-induced myopia, we investigated whether apomorphine and atropine acted sequentially via the same control pathway or via different parallel pathways.


This study, conducted in 8-day-old chicks, was comprised of two parts: (1) a comparative study of apomorphine's effect on lens-induced myopia (-15 D), form-deprivation myopia (diffusers), and lens-induced hyperopia (+15 D) and (2) a study of the interacting effects of apomorphine and atropine on lens-induced myopia and form-deprivation myopia. In the first part, dH2O and six apomorphine doses (8 pmole to 800 nmole in log10 steps) were given as 10-microL intravitreal injections in combination with the above visual treatments. Apomorphine was used alone or given with atropine in the second part, which included four drug treatment groups: (1) control (dH2O); (2) 80 pmole of apomorphine; (3) 18 nmole of atropine; and (4) apomorphine + atropine. Additional dH2O injections were used to equalize the number of injections across groups. After 4.5 days of treatment, refractive errors and axial ocular dimensions were measured.


The myopic shifts and axial elongation typical of lens-induced myopia (-15 D lens wear) were inhibited to maxima of 43% (4.5 D) and 52% (0.17 mm) by apomorphine, which, in contrast, enhanced lens-induced hyperopia (refractive error: 114%, 1.55 D; axial length: 134%, 0.16 mm). Inhibitory effects of apomorphine on lens-induced myopia were observed at doses > or = 80 pmole, whereas the doses required to enhance lens-induced hyperopia were 2 log10 units higher. Only a weak inhibitory effect of apomorphine on form-deprivation myopia was observed. Although both apomorphine and atropine inhibited lens-induced myopia, atropine was slightly more effective for the doses compared (refractive error, 53% cf. 32%), and the effect of the combination was not significantly greater than that of atropine alone (refractive error, 59% cf. 53%).


Apomorphine inhibits both types of experimental myopia, which implies the involvement of dopaminergic mechanisms in both phenomena; likewise, cholinergic mechanisms are indicated by the inhibitory effects of atropine on both lens-induced myopia and form-deprivation myopia. We speculate that apomorphine and atropine act at different sites on a common control pathway because the combined effect of apomorphine and atropine was no more than atropine alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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