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Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2012;30(2):161-78. doi: 10.3233/RNN-2012-110192.

Vision and visual plasticity in ageing mice.

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Institut für Allgemeine Zoologie und Tierphysiologie, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Jena, Germany.



Little is known about neuronal changes during ageing in the visual system of mice which are increasingly being used as animal models for human visual disorders.


Measuring the optomotor response to moving gratings, visual acuity of C57BL/6-mice was 0.39 cycles/degree (cyc/deg) until 12 months of age and declined to 0.27 cyc/deg (by 30%) at 26 months. In the visual water task, a cortex-dependent task based on visual discrimination learning, visual acuity remained stable at 0.58 cyc/deg up to 21 months and then declined to 0.48 cyc/deg (by 19%) at 27 months. Visual cortical activity recorded by optical imaging declined by 33% between seven and 23 months of age. After monocular deprivation and daily testing of the optomotor response, visual acuity of the open eye increased by 29% in 4 to 7-month-old animals, while the increase was only 13% in 23-month-old mice. Interestingly, interindividual variability generally increased with age, so that some 23-month-old mice retained visual acuity and interocular plasticity like 4 or 7-month-old animals.


In summary, reduced visual function was accompanied by a reduction of both visual cortical responses and interocular plasticity indicating a central nervous system component in age-related vision loss in mice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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